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By Louise Herman

Often, when an employer lays off an employee, they will offer the employee a severance agreement. Since these agreements are typically placed in a positive light, as though they’re doing you a favor by offering one in the first place, many people sign them without hesitation. But should you? Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Providence, Rhode Island employment agreement lawyer to learn more about severance agreements and whether you should sign one. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is a severance agreement?

A severance agreement is essentially a contract between an employee and an employer that says “our company will give you ‘x’ amount of money for ‘x’ amount of time after we lay you off. Typically, the purpose of such an agreement is to help the employee financially for a month or more while they look for employment elsewhere. What could possibly be so wrong about such an agreement? Well, the truth is, once you sign a severance agreement, you are in a contract with your employer, and the terms in the fine print of the contract may not exactly be in your best interests.

What are the downsides of signing a severance agreement?

Although it may not seem it at first, there are some potential downsides of signing this agreement. Most notably, in the fine print, a severance agreement will likely contain some language that prohibits the employee from pursuing legal action against the company at any time. So, for example, if you believe you were discriminated against or let go because of your race, if you sign the severance agreement, you likely will no longer have a right to pursue a wrongful termination claim against your employer.

Should I hire an employment lawyer before signing an agreement?

Absolutely. It’s important to understand that although these agreements are typically issued in good faith, this isn’t always the case. A seasoned employment attorney can review the document in question, ask you questions about the circumstances of your position’s termination at the company, and, from there, inform you of whether it is in your best interests to sign the agreement.

If you would like to learn more about severance agreements or you’d like assistance reviewing one, simply contact the Herman Law Group today.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.