10 Reasons Why You Should Have a Lawyer Review Your Severance Agreement

Severance pay is worth a lot, especially if the job has a high base salary. It’s mandatory in some states, which means you can get guaranteed severance pay after you leave a job. If you’re quitting a job, but you aren’t sure whether your severance agreement is fair or not, you can have an attorney review the agreement for you. Here are ten areas in which an attorney can help when it comes to your severance agreement situation:

  1. The Severance Payment:

Naturally, the severance payment should be included in the agreement, but in most states, the employer must pay this money regardless of whether the agreement is signed. An attorney can help to review the fairness of the severance according to the nature of the job.

  1. The Money the Employer Owes:

Every entitled benefit can be claimed for monetary value, and if the employee has unclaimed benefits that are not reflected in the severance, a lawyer may be in order. They can help to negotiate with the employer to ensure that the departing employee gets everything that they deserve.

  1. Employee Benefits:

Some benefits may not be terminated at the end of the employment contract, and the employee should retain these benefits. If the employer seizes these benefits and withholds them from the employee, the employee should look for a lawyer to deal with the issue.

4. The Release of Claims:

Sometimes, the employer will claim something from the departing employee. This is a very common occurrence, and sometimes the claim is fair, and sometimes it’s not. If the claim is a violation of the employee’s rights, a lawyer can come in and negotiate for a release of those claims.

  1. Non-Disparagement and References:

Non-disparagement agreements are usually a part of a severance agreement. It’s an agreement in which the departing employee agrees not to disclose any confidential information of the former employer. An NDA can be rather restricting, and if it’s worded unfairly, it can prevent the career advancement of departing employee. An attorney can negotiate for a new NDA to ensure that both parties can have their rights reserved without losing any benefits.

  1. Integration Clauses:

Verbal agreements are not binding, and sadly, it’s very common to see an employer promise one thing verbally and turn around and do the complete opposite in the severance agreement. This is why if something is agreed upon, it has to be added to the severance clause right away to prevent the employer from wiggling out of their own promises.

  1. Proprietary Information:

The proprietary information of the employer should be protected by the severance agreement, but that doesn’t mean that all of it can’t be used by the departing employee. Some of the information can be used to improve the chances of the departing employee at the new position. An attorney can negotiate with the employer to allow the employee to use some of the information for their future employment.

  1. Non-compete Agreements:

Non-compete agreements are crucial for preserving the profit potential and trade secrets of a business, and it’s a good preventative measure that employers should take. That being said, an NCA can also be very restricting, as it can prevent the employee from advancing their career in the stated field for a long time. If the clauses and conditions are unfair, an attorney can negotiate for a reevaluation of the NCA so that both parties can reserve their rights without impeding on the others’.

  1. Confidential Information:

The employer has the right to preserve their confidential information, and that’s typically included in the severance contract. Yet, it’s normal for the family and friends of the departing employee to be anxious and curious about the departure, but the employee may not be able to talk about it. An attorney can negotiate with the employer to disclose some pieces of information to their close relatives.

  1. Cooperation Provisions:

There are legal proceedings that will follow the departure of the employee, and the severance agreements may bind the employee to cooperate with the process fully. This can be unfair in some cases, as “full cooperation” has as much legal binding power as a law enforcer’s orders. An attorney can negotiate the terms to ensure that the cooperation is reasonable and within the boundaries of the employee’s rights.

Severance agreements should be reviewed very carefully, as it’s a legal document that binds the employee to a course of action. If it’s worded in a way that takes advantage of the employee, it can be very restricting to their future growth and personal freedom. For this reason, it’s better to have an attorney review your severance agreements to ensure that it’s reasonable for both parties.


Romanowsky Law specializes in physician contract reviews to ensure that you are getting fair
employment – get in touch today to see how we can help.