If your company needs to let you go because of a change in the way the business is structured, it's only natural that you'll feel concerned about your future. In many cases, though, executive-level employees and management will be able to negotiate a severance package that will serve as your financial lifeline during the near term while you find a new way to earn an income.
Many executives who negotiate severance packages don't realize the power they have and they sell themselves short. When it comes making this kind of a deal, here are four things to consider carefully:
Make sure that you are receiving the amount of compensation you require. Keep in mind that your financial needs could change after you leave your company. If you had a company phone and a company car, you'll now be responsible to pay for these expenses yourself. Similarly, if you enjoyed health insurance or a free gym membership, remember these and other expenses, too.
Ask for a "release of rights" from your employer. This will protect you in the future, if your employer or a coworker decides to bring forward an action related to harassment or wrongful behavior. A "release of rights" clause in your severance package could provide some protection from a complaint like this.
Do you have a potential lawsuit? Make sure that you don't have any potential claims against your employer because signing your severance agreement could disrupt your legal right to sue the company.
Check for signs of discrimination. Finally, you might want to consider if the reason you're being let go or laid off has something to do with age, gender or race discrimination. If you feel that you're being unfairly treated in the layoff, you may have a discrimination claim you'll want to file and, therefore, you might not want to sign the severance package agreement before discussing your situation with a qualified attorney.
By learning more about your legal rights as an employee, and the ins and outs of creating a severance package deal, you'll be better able to navigate a fair settlement on your behalf.