NY Severance Agreement Negotiations NY Severance Agreements are not governed by any particular law, so employees have to get creative when it comes to negotiating a NY Severance Agreement. Like most things in life, the better you are prepared, the better the result.
Step One – Assess your rights
The first thing you need to do is learn your rights. Gather all documents related to your employment (e.g. offer letter, contract, handbook, pay stubs, etc.). Then do your research, is anything about your employment or termination illegal? Most likely, your employment was “at-will” meaning your employer can fire you for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all – pretty much any reason, except an illegal reason.
So in assessing your rights, you want to think about whether the employer has broken any promises regarding employment and/or compensation and whether you have the basis for credible lawsuit against your employer. You also want to consider what similar employees received in similar circumstances. Often, this information is confidential, but if you can learn about it, you’ll be better off.
Step Two – Know what you want
If you’re going to negotiate, know what you want before you go in. What is obtainable depends on a number of factors, including the status of the employee, the finances of the employer, the circumstances surrounding the termination, and a host of intangibles.
Most people think of severance strictly in terms of money, but you need to be more flexible. Benefits and perks should be considered as well. For example, consider the value of staying on the employer’s medical plan, vesting packages, 401(k)s and stock options. Also, consider your employer’s vacation and sick day policies, if you are entitled to some of that, don’t forget to figure it into your value.
Be creative – think about more than just weeks of pay and straight money payments.
Step Three – Negotiate in good faith
Even people who hire attorneys for advice often handle their negotiations by themselves. Whether or not to have an attorney conduct your negotiations often comes down to a question of politics. If you have a good relationship with your employer and think you can work out a good deal on your own, it may be best to handle it on your own. Conversely, if relationships have deteriorated and you want to be taken seriously, bringing in your attorney sends a clear signal.
Express to the employer that you are serious about your rights, but willing to compromise. Your employer will want you to sign a release in exchange for any severance agreement.
Without an attorney, this process can be quite difficult. To best assess your rights, you should contact us for a free initial consultation