Handling All Compensation And Severance Issues

Statistically speaking, the majority of employment contracts are unwritten. Though supplemented and informed by statutes, regulations and the employer's personnel policies, the basic employment agreement boils down to payment and benefits in exchange for the satisfactory performance of a particular job. Either party is free to terminate it at any time within the limits of laws against discrimination or retaliation.

It is sometimes in the interests of both the employer and the employee to formalize the employment relationship through a contract. Negotiation and documentation of the terms of an employer-employee relationship, especially for high-profile employees like executives and professionals, can protect both parties from future disputes. Contact Seder & Chandler in Worcester to learn how our attorneys can advise you about the best approaches to employment agreements in your specific circumstances.

We can help you identify and resolve the issues that are likely to figure in your most important employment agreements, whether they involve executive compensation, severance terms under different scenarios, sabbatical leave for professionals, performance-based compensation, non-compete and non-solicitation terms, or options for renewal or extension.

Our experience with written employment and severance agreements in a wide variety of situations can protect your interests while narrowing the gap between one side's offer and the other side's demand. Other terms that should be considered might address:

  • Performance review factors
  • Defining permissible causes for termination
  • Buyout options
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Remedies for breach by either party, including non-compete terms after separation
  • Mandatory arbitration
  • Assignability of the agreement in case of merger or sale of the employer's business
  • Continuation or termination of benefits upon severance for various defined reasons

Seder & Chandler offers comprehensive client service on executive or professional employment issues in banking, academia, medicine and other professions, high-tech, insurance, real estate, nonprofit leadership and other employment settings. Our lawyers handle the initial negotiation and documentation of employment agreements, the renegotiation of particular terms to address new circumstances, the renegotiation of severance terms when either party's interests require it, and the enforcement of employment or severance agreements in court or arbitration whenever necessary.

Common Questions About Severance Agreements

The negotiation of a compensation package or severance agreement can be a complicated matter. The skilled counsel of an employment law attorney can make this process an easier one. Furthermore, your best interests as a business or as an executive employee can be protected and advocated for by an experienced versatile counsel who understands corporate and employment law.

The following are common questions or issues about severance agreements that clients come to our firm asking:

  • What is included in a severance agreement? Compensation such as pay and other monetary compensation package terms are often part of a severance agreement. However, there are other points that are just as important. This may include a release from any future litigation or employment lawsuits, an agreement for non-competition or non-solicitation and other protections for the employer or employee.
  • Can other contracts impact the severance agreement? Often an employee has signed an employment agreement or non-competition/non-solicitation agreement at the commencement of his or her employment. The employment agreement may have included terms that limit the employee's movement to other jobs in the event of termination. Each agreement will be distinct and the agreements will need to be examined to determine how much it could impact or dictate the severance agreement. In addition, if there has a been a material change in the terms of the employee's employment, certain provisions of the agreement may no longer be binding on the employee and, thus the terms of the severance agreement may be impacted by the change of status of the employee.
  • How much time does an employee have to make his or her decision? In general, there is a 21-day period in which an employee can review the offer or agreement. If the time has passed, the employer can revoke the offer. Furthermore, even if an employee signs the agreement, he or she can change his or her mind within seven days. This is why it is so important that you have an attorney to protect your rights.
  • What happens if an agreement cannot be reached? While it is always stressed that negotiations and mediation are the most efficient and cost-effective ways to handle severance agreement disputes, our law firm provides experienced litigators and arbitration advocates to represent employers and employees.

For additional information about any aspect of written employment agreements in your business or profession, contact Seder & Chandler today. With offices in Worcester and Westborough, we represent clients throughout central Massachusetts and the MetroWest Boston area.