The law does not require California employers to offer severance pay or benefits to terminated or laid-off employees unless there is a contract or collective bargaining agreement that provides otherwise. This is true regardless of how long an employee has worked for the company, how strong his performance was, or the reason for the lay-off.
Nevertheless, some employers do offer employees severance packages upon termination or lay-off. Employees should be aware, however, that employers generally require employees to release all legal claims they may have against the employer in exchange for the severance package. This would include claims for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and whistleblowing. Thus, if you believe your employer may have terminated you for an illegal reason, you should consult an employment attorney before signing any severance agreement.
If your employer does not offer you a severance package, or you think a package offered to you is inadequate, Sarnoff + Sarnoff can help you negotiate a better deal. Sarnoff + Sarnoff can also evaluate whether you may have a potential lawsuit against your former employer, and help you decide whether to use the lawsuit as leverage in severance negotiations or reject the severance package and pursue a lawsuit instead. Give us a call at (213) 536-4236, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our case evaluation form to find out whether your rights have been violated and if we can help.