Understanding Severance Agreements and Legal Options for Employees in California

Understanding Severance Agreements and Legal Options for Employees in California

A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms of an employee’s departure from the employer. In California, these agreements are often used as a way for an employer to offer an employee financial compensation in exchange for a general release of legal claims against the employer.

For employees in California, it is important to understand the legal options available to them when it comes to negotiating severance agreements. Employees should know that like any contract, the severance agreement is negotiable.

Some key things to keep in mind when considering a severance agreement in California include:

  • An employee has the right to take time to consider the agreement and seek the advice of an attorney.

  • Employees over the age of 40 are legally guaranteed a longer period of time before the employer can demand that they sign and additional time after they sign to withdraw their signature.

  • The agreement should not contain any provisions that would waive an employee’s legal rights, such as the right to file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Civil Rights (formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)).

  • An employee should consider whether the amount of severance compensation will provide the financial support they need as they navigate their job search.

  • Severance agreements can and should include non-monetary terms such as extended insurance coverage.

Because the employee is agreeing to release the employer of any legal liability as a result of the termination or employment separation, it is critical that the employee takes the necessary time to review and comprehend the terms that they are agreeing to. The employee should also understand all of the potential options that may be available to them, given their employment situation. At TONG LAW, we are experienced in negotiating severances on behalf of employees throughout the state of California. Our clients span a variety of sectors including tech, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and more. Book a consultation with TONG LAW today to discuss your severance matter. Please visit our website at www.tong-law.com to fill out a consultation form.

Attorney Advertising: Information contained on this website is for general information only. Nothing on this website should be construed to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been formed.

Author Bio

Vincent Tong

Vincent Tong is the CEO and Managing Partner of TONG LAW, a business and employment law firm located in Oakland, CA. Vincent is a fierce advocate for employees facing discrimination and wrongful termination. With several successful jury trial victories and favorable settlements, he has earned a strong reputation for delivering exceptional results for his clients.

In addition, Vincent provides invaluable counsel to businesses, guiding them on critical matters such as formation and governance, regulatory compliance, and protection of intellectual property assets. His depth of experience allows him to anticipate risks, devise strategies to avoid legal pitfalls, and empower clients to pursue their goals confidently.

Vincent currently serves as the 2021 President of the Board of Directors for the Alameda County Bar Association and sits on the Executive Board for the California Employment Lawyers Association. Recognized for outstanding skills and client dedication, he has consecutively earned the Super Lawyers’ Rising Star honor since 2015, reserved for the top 2.5% of attorneys. He also received the Distinguished Service Award for New Attorney from the Alameda County Bar Association in 2016. He is licensed to practice before all California state courts and the United States District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California.

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