A company may offer a Severance Agreement or Severance Package to an employee when the employee is terminated, laid off, or the company restructures and eliminates the employee’s position. In Ohio, an employer is not legally required to provide a severance.
A Severance Agreement is a contract offered by a company to provide pay and/or other benefits upon termination, typically in exchange for the employee signing a Release of Claims agreeing not to sue the company for any wrongdoing. A Severance Agreement and Release of Claims may also include provisions limiting an employee’s ability to work in certain industries or locations that compete with their previous company and prevent an employee from encouraging the company’s customers or clients to stop doing business with the company. These types of restrictions are called Non-Compete Agreements and Non-Solicitation Agreements and may be included within the terms of a Severance Agreement. Sometimes a Severance Agreement will also include a non-rehire clause making the employee ineligible to ever work for the company or one of its affiliates in the future.
If you receive a Severance Agreement and Release of Claims from your employer, you should review it carefully to ensure you understand and agree with the terms. It is best to have an experienced employment lawyer review your Severance Agreement to determine if your termination is lawful and to advise you of the rights you are waiving by signing the Release of Claims.
Experienced employment attorney, Mary Lewis Turner, will review your Severance Agreement with you to determine whether it is within your best interests to sign. Mary will answer your questions and ensure that you understand whether or not your Severance Agreement contains any provisions that could interfere with your career and your ability to find work in the future.
Mary will discuss your specific situation to determine if you have any potential legal claims against the company that could help you either negotiate a higher severance or that you may choose to file against the company with the appropriate government agency or in court.
Frequently asked questions
My Severance Agreement says that by signing it, I am waiving my right to sue the company for discrimination. Does this mean that they discriminated against me?
No. Most Severance Agreements include a Release of Claims. Essentially, the company is offering you money or other benefits in exchange for your agreement not to sue the company for any wrongdoing that could have occurred during your employment. This does not mean that the company believes it engaged in any unlawful behavior. The company is essentially offering the severance in exchange for legal protection from future lawsuits.
How much should my severance amount be?
Severance amounts vary widely. They are typically based on the employee’s current income and years of service to the company. They also vary based on the size of the company and the industry.
Can you negotiate a Severance Agreement on my behalf?
Yes, but it depends on your specific situation. If you have been offered a Severance Agreement and would like to negotiate some changes to the proposed agreement, I can help.
If you were terminated and did not receive a Severance Agreement, we must first determine if you have any legal claims against the company that they could want you to waive in exchange for offering a severance.
In Ohio, employers are not legally required to provide any severance to their employees. Ohio is an at-will employment state meaning that your employment can end at any time without a reason whether you choose to resign or the company terminates you. Most employees are at-will employees unless they have a specific employment contract or are union members whose employment is governed by the union’s collective bargaining agreement.
Ohio Law and Federal Law only prohibit employers from terminating an employee for certain reasons such as discrimination based on race, gender, disability, religion, age (over 40 years old), interference with FMLA leave, and retaliation for engaging in protected activity.
I can review your specific situation to determine if you have any valid legal claims against your former employer and advise you about your options to either pursue these claims with the appropriate state agency or in court. I can also help you negotiate a severance agreement in certain circumstances.
I own my own business, and I need an attorney to draft a Severance Agreement for my employee. Can you do this?
Yes. I have drafted and reviewed numerous Severance Agreements. I can help you determine what provisions to include in the Severance Agreement to meet your company’s specific needs.
The material on this webpage has been prepared by Lewis Legal Solutions for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific matter. No attorney-client relationship is implied or created by the information found on this website. Lewis Legal Solutions practices law within the state of Ohio. Individuals should seek the advice of legal counsel licensed in their state.