We have specialized in reviewing and drafting hundreds of severance agreements for almost 20 years in practice. Negotiating an acceptable severance agreement for both sides must be carefully done so that the end result is a mutually beneficial negotiated agreement. Generally speaking, here are some important things to keep in mind:
1. Do not be in a rush to sign one when it's presented to you because you can usually negotiate for better terms if you have leverage and can properly advocate it. For example, you can ask for more money, an extension of your health benefits, a letter of reference to make it easier for you to find other employment and even how to best classify your end of employment.
2. Severance Agreements generally ask you to release any and all of your rights, known and unknown, so be very careful before signing one. Understand all of the rights you are waiving.
3. To maximize the amount you should receive, have an attorney evaluate any claims you may have against your employer because that is the leverage you can use to negotiate a fair and appropriate severance amount in exchange for waiving all of your rights.
4. All terms are negotiable. Both sides have interest in entering into one so don't let your interests be ignored especially since you only have one shot in getting it right.
1. Providing an employee with a severance at the end of employment is a common business practice that fosters goodwill. Do not think that you only need to provide one if you think you might have done something wrong. If you want to show your appreciation or just avoid a problem employee who may falsely pursue you in court, a severance agreement is the solution.
2. You must approach severance agreements very objectively with the frame of mind that it's business and only business. Your goals must be well defined and prioritized.
3. Be open to hearing the concerns of the employee. If you want the agreement to be signed so that you can have a conclusion or just peace of mind without any unnecessary interruption to your business, you must be willing to listen and have an open mind.
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