Looking for a Florida severance agreement attorney to help negotiate your separation agreement?
Hiring an experienced severance agreement attorney to negotiate a severance agreement can significantly impact your financial well-being, ensure your employer does not take advantage of you, and ease your transition to your next job opportunity.
Kaplan Employment Law has a proven track record of negotiating separation agreements for individuals in all fields, including technology, finance, management, and more. We help individuals maximize compensation packages during severance agreement negotiations and protect careers moving forward.
Below you will find a comprehensive explanation of what you need to know about severance agreements and why you should hire an experienced Florida severance agreement lawyer like Kaplan Employment Law.
If you feel your employer has given you an unfair severance agreement, or if you are concerned about your severance agreement rights, please schedule a consultation with our Florida severance agreement lawyer, Brett Daniel Kaplan, Esq.
Understanding the Purpose of a Severance Agreement
A severance agreement is a confidential separation agreement and release of claims made between an employee and employer. A severance agreement typically contains about 2,500 words of complex legal language that includes promises made by both the employer and the employee to govern the end of the employment relationship.
An employer offers pay to a departing employee in exchange for signing the separation agreement. At its most basic level, the benefits afforded to a departing employee include a sum of money based on the employee's salary. For instance, the employer may offer the employee one month of pay to sign the severance agreement. Fair compensation typically aligns with years of service to the corporation, along with consideration of performance and disciplinary history.
The employer's initial offer will almost never recognize those principals. Often these agreements exclude valuable consideration for the employee such as bonus replacements, extended health care coverage, and restrictive stock units. Still, an employee should aim to secure at least 2 weeks per year of service.
Generally, in exchange for the consideration, the employee promises (1) not to sue the employer, (2) keep the agreement, the termination, and the entire employment relationship confidential, and (3) not to speak ill of the company in anyway. Sometimes the employer will even attempt to sneak in damaging provisions like requiring an employee to pay back the severance if the employee finds a new job.
While employers use these agreements to protect their interests, employees can significantly benefit from skilled negotiation to harness leverage to optimize the pay provided.
Why You Should Hire A Severance Agreement Lawyer to Negotiate Your Severance
Negotiating a severance agreement requires a strategic approach to effectively communicate your value to the employer.
Negotiating a severance agreement without a severance agreement attorney can be disastrous. Separating employers want you to sign the agreement without consulting a lawyer. At the same time, the employer provides a "low-ball" initial offer with the expectation that the savvy employee will obtain legal counsel to negotiate the severance. Employers consider themselves lucky when they get an employee to sign the agreement without legal representation. When an employer pressures you or someone from HR "checks in" with you on the agreement, don't respond. This can be a sign that you have leverage in the situation. Instead, you should schedule a free consultation with an experienced severance agreement attorney.
For the employee, signing the agreement without legal representation is a worst case outcome. In fact, signing a severance agreement without consulting an attorney (or worse, beginning negotiations on your own) can have long-lasting ramifications for an entire career. If an employee makes a counter offer for, let's say another 2 weeks of pay, an attorney cannot come into the negotiation at a later point and then counteroffer for anything more than what the employee has already offered. Moreover, negotiating other terms of the agreement becomes difficult because the employee may have already represented that they would sign the agreement if the employer agrees to another 2 weeks without any regard for other legal obligations the employee is unaware of.
Optimizing your severance agreement requires the ability to leverage specific facts to motivate the employer to provide more severance pay and give you greater protections than they want. After all, the law does not require the employer to provide you with any severance pay. You need an experienced severance agreement lawyer to negotiate your severance agreement because identifying and harnessing any leverage you may have in the negotiation requires knowledge of employment law, statutes, and caselaw. Further, an experienced severance agreement lawyer will have negotiated dozens of agreements and understands what works and what does not work in negotiating a severance agreement.
For instance, in the event of mass layoffs, understanding how to distinguish yourself from the many other employees who were also laid off takes knowledge and skill that even the highest-level executives do not have. Likewise, understanding whether you would otherwise have a valid claim for wrongful termination is impossible to determine without knowledge of employment law. If recognized, a severance agreement attorney can use these points to negotiate your separation agreement by making these facts known to your employer.
In other instances, ensuring you receive restricted stock units (RSUs), bonus replacements, or commissions that you would otherwise be unentitled to is almost impossible to negotiate without a severance agreement attorney. Separation agreements become more complicated when the employer incorporates noncompete and nonsolicitation provisions to your separation agreement.
At bottom, negotiating a severance agreement and protecting your future requires knowledge and experience that only a top severance agreement lawyer like Kaplan Employment Law has.
The Process: How Kaplan Employment Law Secures Favorable Severance Agreement Outcomes
Attorney Brett Daniel Kaplan, Esq. at Kaplan Employment Law will personally negotiate your severance agreement on your behalf.
1️⃣ Free case evaluation.
2️⃣ Strategy Session.
3️⃣ Client Authorization.
4️⃣ Direct Negotiation.
5️⃣ Execute Agreement.
Every severance negotiation begins with a free case evaluation. After making your free appointment, Attorney Kaplan will request that you send a PDF version of the severance agreement. This is confidential, even as a prospective client. During a 30-minute call, Attorney Kaplan will ask about your employment relationship, performance history, and the reason for the termination or lay off. Additionally, we will find out about any suspected retaliation that may had led to a possible wrongful termination. This initial discussion is crucial to identify every possible leverage point you have in a negotiation. Finally, we will discuss what expectations are in an outcome.
Next, we have a strategy session where we make proposals of your severance agreement to your employer. Attorney Kaplan reviews every word of every provision of your severance agreement. From there, Attorney Kaplan makes adjustments on what we believe is negotiable with your employer. In the document itself, we annotate the agreement and use the comment function to make your case. In other provisions, we explain to your employer why something is not fair and make a proposed change and show why this is the best result for all parties.
Afterward, Attorney Kaplan has another call with you to walk through each of the proposed revisions. Our goal is to ensure you receive fair compensation that reflects your contributions, skills, and the impact your departure may have on your personal and professional trajectory. In the end, you provide the final authority for every proposed change.
The next step is to directly negotiate with your employer. Attorney Kaplan makes all communications with the employer's attorney. Once the employer responds to our counteroffer, Attorney Kaplan will communicate each move by the employer before communicating the next counteroffer back. Usually there are two or three moves between the parties before an agreement is made.
Finally, once we reach an agreement, Attorney Kaplan will have another call with you to walk through the final version of the agreement, ensuring you understand each of the terms. During this call Attorney Kaplan answers all questions you may have. In fact, signing up with us includes guidance for obligations you may have even after execution of the agreement, before you secure your next job.
By partnering with Kaplan Employment Law, you gain the advocate you need to negotiate on your behalf in a professional and efficient manner to ensure you receive a compensation package that you deserve.
No. Negotiating a severance agreement is a standard business practice and is not adversarial. Employers expect employees to negotiate, and employees have the legal right to pursue a fair severance agreement. In fact many agreements contain language that advises the employee to seek the advice of counsel. Likewise, Kaplan Employment Law represents its clients with the utmost professionalism, ensuring that the client ends the employment relationship with the highest degree of integrity.
A Kaplan Employment Law client has never had their severance agreement revoked by an employer. Most severance agreements contain a provision that advise you to consult an attorney before signing your severance agreement. Our negotiation approach is with the utmost professionalism. Attorney Kaplan has an ability to develop rapport with your employer and negotiate directly with their attorney. A word of caution goes to employee who attempts to negotiate their agreement on their own: like any contract, an employer may attempt to revoke the offer.
In general, the negotiating a severance agreement takes about a week to finish. The time it takes to negotiate a severance agreement depends on how quickly the employer responds. Still, some agreements take longer while others have been successfully negotiated and executed in as little as a few days.
Sure. Anyone can negotiate the compensation of a severance agreement. Once you begin negotiation, however, hiring an attorney to negotiate your separation agreement becomes less feasible.
Employees should not negotiate severance agreements on their own without training and knowledge of labor and employment law. If an employee simply states, "I want more money" the employer can simply say "no," or "we'll see what we can do." Best case in these circumstances is you may receive another week or two. The problem is that the employee will miss provisions, even Still, the employee may then sign an agreement that has longer lasting ramifications because they missed a legal obligation they promised by signing the agreement.
The consideration you can expect to receive in a severance agreement depends on various factors. Some important considerations include the length of your employment, your performance record, any potential legal claims you may have, and your salary level. Generally, employees with longer service, excellent performance, and no disciplinary history are more likely to receive greater consideration. You can expect to receive more compensation if you hire an employment attorney to negotiate your severance agreement than the initial offer made by your employer.
Severance agreements may include severance pay, bonus replacement, commission replacement, health insurance and COBRA coverage, outplacement services, stock vesting, and restricted stock units (RSUs).
If you don't agree with the severance agreement after you try to negotiate the agreement you need not sign the agreement. Of course, if you do not sign the agreement no consideration is paid to you by the employer. If you have a valid legal claim against the company for wrongful termination you may pursue that claim.
Typically you are still able to obtain unemployment if you negotiate that your employer makes the payment in one lump some rather than a salary continuation for some weeks. The best practice is to negotiate language in the agreement that specifically provides the employee may still collect unemployment insurance.
A separating employer is unlikely to provide a traditional letter of recommendation for a separating employee. Yet what is important to negotiate for is a "neutral reference," meaning your separating employer may only disclose your job title, dates of employment, and sometimes your salary to a prospective employer who calls for a reference. Your employer is unlikely to include this provision on a first version of the severance agreement, and therefore negotiating for this is important.
In every case, the employer wants the employee to sign the severance agreement. The task for the employee is to identify and harness leverage that they may have to motivate the employer to provide more compensation than what is initially offered. An experienced severance negotiation lawyer is equipped with the ability on finding the correct angle to make your case.
If you receive a severance agreement you should schedule a consultation with a severance agreement attorney the day you receive the agreement. Kaplan Employment Law prioritizes prospective clients who receive severance agreements and often sign those clients up the day they call.