47. Severance Negotiating

"Turn a setback into a comeback."
Billy Brewer, College Football Coach

i. Before Negotiating

  1. NL 1: FMLA – Great Tool to E-x-t-e-n-d Employment
  2. NL 2: Performance Improvement Plan a Fraud? – Here’s 12 Clear Indicators
  3. NL 3: Self-Help Action Plan 1: “Totally Frazzled from Work? Here’s What You Can Do”
  4. NL 4: “Not Feeling Well Enough to Work? – 13 Workplace Options (Part 1 of 2)”
  5. NL 5: “Not Feeling Well Enough to Work? – 13 Workplace Options (Part 2 of 2)”
  6. QA 1: “Can I be denied severance, or unemployment benefits, if I don’t accept a position offered to me by the company that just laid me off?”
  7. QA 2: “Can I say ‘Skip the PIP’ and go straight to severance?”
  8. QA 3: “If my boss tells me to find a new job, and I find one, do I lose my severance?”
  9. QA 4: “My company is being sold. Should I stay on and work for the purchasing company, or take my severance and go?”
  10. QA 5: “Offered pittance of a severance. What is my next step?”
  11. QA 6: “What constitutes a ‘hostile work environment’?”
  12. QA 7: “What’s better – asking for more severance without an attorney, or with one?”
  13. QA 8: “Can I be forced to sign a ‘voluntary’ resignation form to get my severance?”
  14. QA 9: “Can I really negotiate for better severance?”
  15. QA 10: “Can I trust things my present employer is saying in meetings about severance and the intentions of the company’s new owners?”
  16. QA 11: “Can my employer require me to sign a document acknowledging that I was terminated for poor performance as a condition to my receiving severance?”
  17. QA 12: “If I receive severance payments over time, will that count toward the time I need to vest in the company retirement plan?”
  18. QA 13: “While on ‘termination notice,’ if I leave my company for a new job, before my last scheduled day of employment, will I still get severance?”
  19. QA 14: Can an employee ever ASK for a severance package? (We call that “Pre-emptive Severance Request”)

ii. Negotiating - The Process

  1. NL 1: Heard a Recruiter is Shopping Your Job? Here’s Nine Suggested Steps
  2. NL 2: Negotiating Severance: Your 6 Sources of Leverage
  3. NL 3: Severance Offers: When It Pays to Say “No Thank You”
  4. QA 1: “Can I request severance or a cash settlement to keep quiet about an illegal practice by my employer?”
  5. QA 2: “If I negotiate, will my severance be taken off the table?”
  6. QA 3: “Is threatening to file a sexual harassment complaint equal to extortion?”
  7. QA 4: “Any tips on how to negotiate severance?”
  8. QA 5: “How long is an offer of severance good for?”
  9. QA 6: “If it hasn’t yet been accepted, can a severance offer be changed, or withdrawn?”
  10. QA 7: “In negotiating my severance, can I use as leverage the fact that I know how much different employees are paid?”
  11. QA 8: “Should I ask for more time to negotiate severance?”
  12. QA 9: Not paid what I was promised. Should I raise that issue in severance negotiations?
  13. QA 10: Refusing to Resign: Can HR Change Severance Offer?
  14. QA 11: Severance Deadline Nears – What Do I Do Now?

iii. Negotiating - The Terms

  1. NL 1: Hey, It’s August . . . We Call This “Protect Your ‘Rolodex’ Month”
  2. NL 2: “This Contract Must Be Kept Confidential” Clause – Seven Points to Ponder
  3. QA 1: “Can a severance agreement require that my husband give up vested stock and stock options?”
  4. QA 2: “Can severance consist just of retirement monies?”
  5. QA 3: “Continuing Cooperation Clause” in Severance Agreement: A Problem?
  6. QA 4: “How do I write a letter asking for more severance based on ‘humanitarian’ reasons?”
  7. QA 5: “If laid off near year-end, am I entitled to partial bonus?”
  8. QA 6: “My severance agreement says I can never re-apply; can I get around that?”
  9. QA 7: “Offered severance at the end of a Performance Improvement Plan; can I ask for more?”
  10. QA 8: “What should I ask for regarding severance?”
  11. QA 9: “When laid off, can I get my unvested options vested?”
  12. QA 10: “Can we ask for a previously-offered severance package that was better than this one?”
  13. QA 11: “How much should my husband ask to be ‘retained’ by his company for six months longer than he would like to stay on?”
  14. QA 12: “If my severance is reduced by monies I make working elsewhere, can I simply ask that payments I earn be delayed?”
  15. QA 13: “Offered so-called ‘voluntary’ separation, with enhanced severance. Should I accept it?”
  16. QA 14: How Much Severance is Fair?
  17. QA 15: Isn’t “mitigation” of severance unfair?
  18. QA 16: Possible Bonus Payment Not Written in Severance Agreement – What Should I Do?
  19. QA 17: “If my employer pays my attorney fees, am I taxed on the amount they pay?”
  20. QA 18: “No Re-Hire” Clause in my Severance Agreement – Why??
  21. WD 1: Mitigation – Key Words & Phrases

iv. After Negotiating

  1. NL 1: Non-Compete or Non-Solicit? Use “C.A.T.C.H.” to Understand It
  2. NL 2: Severance Payments: Can I Lose Them If My Employer Goes Bankrupt?
  3. NL 3: “Problem Not Yet Solved; What’s My Next Step?” Your Five Alternative Next Steps
  4. QA 1: “If only the employee signs the severance agreement, is the employer bound by it?”
  5. QA 2: “After I have signed a severance agreement, without help from an attorney, can I still file a discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?”
  6. QA 3: “After severance, can I sue my employer for workplace stress?”
  7. QA 4: “Can severance be negotiated? Anything I can do if I’ve already accepted the severance?”
  8. QA 5: “I accepted a severance package four weeks after the deadline. Can my former employer refuse to pay?”
  9. QA 6: “If after I signed a severance agreement, I found out new info, could I still bring a case of wrongful termination?”
  10. QA 7: “If I signed a severance (or separation) agreement, can I still sue my employer for unlawful termination?”
  11. QA 8: “If I take a new job elsewhere before my job is lost, will I lose my severance?”
  12. QA 9: “In Ohio, will my receiving severance reduce or limit my collecting unemployment benefits?”
  13. QA 10: “While I am on severance, can I be required to work, without extra pay?”
  14. QA 11: Must employers provide a reason for terminating an employee?
  15. QA 12: “After severance, what you CAN and CANNOT say”
  16. QA 13: “Do I have any chance of collecting severance if my employer goes bankrupt after I’ve been laid off?”

v. Miscellaneous

  1. NL 1: “Survivor Demotion” – When a Lower Level Job Is Preferable to Layoff
  2. NL 2: “Vacation and Vacation Pay – 50 Frequently Asked Questions”
  3. NL 3: Expense Reports Are Ending Careers Like Never Before
  4. NL 4: Non-Solicitation Does NOT Mean Non-Communication
  5. NL 5: Yahoo! Uses Severance Packages Strategically to Thwart Microsoft Takeover – Lessons You Can Draw
  6. QA 1: “Can I use my severance to get a ‘bridge to retirement?'”
  7. QA 2: “Can my boss make me sign a letter saying I left voluntarily in return for a letter of recommendation?”
  8. QA 3: “If an employee has a Master’s Degree paid for by an employer, based on the employee’s promise to stay three years, or repay the $30,000, what happens if the employee is laid off?”
  9. QA 4: “If laid off and offered a lower job, will declining it result in losing severance or unemployment benefits?”
  10. QA 5: “Vacation and Vacation Pay – 50 Frequently Asked Questions”
  11. QA 6: “What is ‘after-acquired cause’ for firing?”
  12. QA 7: “Work in New Jersey; employer in Massachusetts. Which state’s lawyers can help me?”
  13. QA 8: “Are you a fan of outplacement services?”
  14. QA 9: “Other than outplacement, what can an employer do for a laid off employee?”
  15. QA 10: “What is an ‘Administrative Claim’ for severance?”
  16. QA 11: “If I sign a Performance Improvement Plan, if I am let go, might I get a Severance Package?”
  17. QA 12: “My company avoids both severance and pensions by something called ‘re-badging’ employees. Is this legal?”

“If you live your life the right way,
your later years will not be a winter,
but rather a harvest.”

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