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Can an employee negotiate a severance agreement?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2023 | Employment Law -- Employee |

Understanding the possibility of negotiating a severance agreement is relevant for many employees.

Severance agreements are legally binding contracts that outline the terms and conditions under which an employment relationship comes to an end. While the negotiation process may seem daunting, employees in Florida may have the opportunity to discuss certain aspects of their severance agreements.

Assessing the situation

When presented with a severance agreement, employees should carefully review the terms presented by their employer. These terms typically cover issues such as compensation, benefits and confidentiality. With the recent round of tech layoffs, some agreements also include a timeline for layoff, continued healthcare for a specific timeframe and job placement assistance.

Negotiating terms

Some employers may be willing to discuss modification of certain terms in the severance agreement, such as adjustments to the timing of severance payments, non-compete clauses or even the amount of severance offered. However, typically, the employer is not willing to substantially increase the amount of severance offered, particularly since, under Florida law, there is no requirement or obligation to pay severance at all unless the employee has an employment agreement that provides for severance upon separation.

Hiring an attorney to negotiate severance

Most severance agreements include a full general release in which the employee is being asked to release any and all claims the employee may have against the company. Where the employee believes their termination may have been wrongful, and they feel they may have a claim that they would be releasing by signing the severance agreement, then the employee should contact a qualified and experienced employment attorney to review the potential claim and to discuss retaining an attorney to negotiate a higher amount of severance pay, or other modifications to the agreement.