Some companies offer severance packages to workers who lose their jobs for various reasons. As part of the severance arrangement, employers often make the employees sign a waiver that states they give up their right to take legal action against the company. In this blog, we explain if you can still file for wrongful termination after accepting a severance package from your employer.
What Is a Severance Package?
A severance package contains compensation, benefits, or other assistance for an employee who lost their job. Most severance packages give the employee a sum of money, while others might include health benefits or company perks.
Companies often pay severance because they do not want the employee to sue the company in the future. This is why some severance packages include a waiver or release that stipulates the employee waives the right to sue the company in exchange for the severance.
Can I Sue If I Signed A Release?
If you signed a release as part of your severance package, you will need to prove that the release isn’t valid. Common arguments used to invalidate a release include:
- You Didn’t Get Anything in Return: As part of the release, each side must give something valuable to the other. If you were already entitled to severance as part of your employment agreement, your employer must offer you enhanced severance for signing the release.
- You Didn’t Sign Voluntarily: A person cannot be coerced into signing a contract. If you were pressured by your employer to sign the release, the severance agreement can be challenged in court.
- You Didn’t Know What You Were Agreeing To: If the agreement you signed was vague or poorly written, it might be struck down by a judge.
- I Didn’t Know About My Rights Under the ADEA: If an employer asked an employee to give up their right to sue for age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), they must adhere to specific guidelines. If an employer fails to follow these strict guidelines, the contract can be challenged in court.
Speak to an Employment Law Attorney in Hollister
At Polaris Law Group, we are committed to helping workers throughout Northern California with their legal issues. If you need help filing a wrongful termination claim, our attorneys are here to guide you through the entire legal process. We can review the details of your case and determine a legal strategy that will allow you to pursue the justice you deserve.