A severance agreement, also known as a separation agreement, governs the terms of the separation of an employee from his or her employment at a company. One reason a company in New York might want to give you a severance agreement is to minimize the chance that you will file a legal claim against the company. You might also receive this type of agreement if the company wishes to give you severance pay for being a long-term or loyal employee.
Any severance agreement you are presented with is essentially a client that is legally binding. Even though these types of agreements usually include benefits or pay, they also feature other provisions. These provisions may address, for example, confidentiality, a release of claims or even clauses that will prevent you from securing future employment in the same field or being able to contact clients.
Many employees end up quickly signing these agreements without realizing that they were giving up their legal rights in doing so. In some cases, they violate their agreements without realizing it. Unfortunately, they could end up being subject to court orders as well as liquidated damages if they reportedly breached certain obligations.
If you have received a severance agreement, an attorney can help you to review its provisions before you sign on the dotted line. In fact, your attorney could even help you to engage in negotiations regarding the terms of your severance agreement. The goal of your attorney in New York is to ensure that your best interests are upheld and that your rights are not violated when you are parting ways with an employer.