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Severance Agreements & Negotiations

New Jersey Attorneys Representing Employees

When people lose their jobs, their main concern is typically the loss of income and benefits the job provided. Many people are fortunate enough to be entitled to severance, which can help provide financial security during an uncertain time. Employers often have sophisticated professionals draft their severance agreements, though, and they do not always provide employees with the compensation they deserve. If you were recently terminated or laid off, it is in your best interest to speak with legal counsel regarding whether you may be entitled to a severance, and what form your severance agreement negotiations should take. The knowledgeable New Jersey employment lawyers of Resnick Law Group are proficient at helping employees negotiate a variety of contracts, including severance agreements, and we will assertively advocate on your behalf to help you strive for a beneficial outcome.

Required Severance

In some cases, an employer will have a policy that requires them to provide severance to certain employees. Additionally, under New Jersey law, certain employers are obligated to provide employees with severance. Specifically, from July 2020 onward, under certain circumstances, employers with one hundred or more employees may be required to provide at least one week’s severance pay to employees who lose their jobs in a transfer, plant closing, or mass layoff that causes fifty or more employees to be terminated.

Severance Agreements and Negotiations

Severance agreements are binding documents, and the terms of such agreements can permanently alter a person’s rights. Thus, it is prudent for a person who is given a severance agreement to engage an attorney to assist in negotiating the terms of the agreement. Whether an employee should wait to negotiate with the employer until after receiving the employer’s initial offer or do so prior, depends on the circumstances and the individual’s goals. It is also important for the employee to take the time needed to consider the severance offered as well as the other terms of the agreement to avoid making a hasty decision.

Importantly, under New Jersey law, settlement agreements cannot contain confidentiality or non-disclosure provisions that bar employees from conveying the details of any employment discrimination claims. If an agreement settling employment claims entered into after March 18, 2019 contains such a provision, the provision is likely unenforceable. It is also important to know that employers typically include provisions requiring an employee to waive the right to pursue any and all claims, and thus, severance/settlement agreements should be closely analyzed. Additionally, an employer may ask the employee to agree not to disclose information other than the details of discrimination claims, such as the payment amount, intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential information.

Enforcing a Severance Agreement

Severance agreements, like most contracts, are enforceable by both parties that signed the agreement. Thus, if your employer fails to comply with its obligations under the severance agreement, you may be able to recover damages via a breach of contract claim in a civil lawsuit. In New Jersey, a plaintiff alleging breach of contract must establish the existence of a contract and the failure of the defendant to abide by the material terms of the contract. The plaintiff must also show that the breach of the terms of the contract caused the plaintiff to suffer a loss. Usually, the damages awarded in a breach of contract case are meant to remediate the harm caused by the breach by placing the plaintiff in the position he or she would have been in if the defendant had complied with its obligations under the contract.

Dedicated Employment Lawyers Serving New Jersey

Severance agreements can provide people who have lost their jobs with much-needed assistance, but it is prudent for any employee presented with a severance agreement to consult an attorney. At Resnick Law Group, we can advise you of your rights and assist you in fighting for beneficial terms in your severance agreement, and negotiate on your behalf. We have an office located in Roseland, and we regularly assist people with employment matters throughout New Jersey, including parties in Somerset, Mercer, Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic, Hunterdon, Union, Morris, Middlesex, Monmouth, Warren, and Sussex Counties. We have an office in Manhattan as well, and we assist people in negotiating employment contracts in New York City and Westchester and Rockland Counties. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at our Roseland office at (973) 781-1204, or at our New York office at (646) 867-7997.

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