Can I Sue My Former Employer If I Was Given A Severance Package?
The short answer is no, you cannot sue your former employer if you were given a severance package. I suppose it’s possible that there may be some employer out there who will give an employee a severance without requiring them to sign a severance agreement, but I have never seen that happen. Whenever there is a severance, the employer is going to require their departing employee to sign a severance agreement. By doing so, the departing employee is agreeing that in exchange for receiving the severance payment, they release the employer from any claims that they might have against them. That is what cuts off your ability to pursue a claim for wrongful termination or any other sort of discrimination that might have happened while you were employed there.
Depending on how much they are offering you as a severance, it might still be the right choice to accept a severance package, because the steps that you have to go through to get the full amount that you would be entitled to for discrimination or wrongful termination can take a very long time, can be very expensive, and there’s some uncertainty involved. This is because you’re going to be asking a judge or a jury to award what you think you’re entitled to, but there’s going to be someone on the other side arguing against you. To put it another way, you know what happened, but the judge or jury doesn’t know, and they will have to decide your case after hearing both sides of the story.
Even if you have a claim for illegal discrimination or wrongful termination, it might still be a good idea to accept the severance package that they’re offering, simply because it’ll give you a little bit of something to live on while you’re searching for another job. In addition, it will allow you to put the difficult situation of your termination and the discrimination you suffered behind you and move forward with your life.
If the discrimination was particularly egregious or if the severance that they’re offering you is low, then you would want to decline the severance and pursue a wrongful termination or discrimination claim. However, if you sign the severance package, then you will be giving up any right to pursue a claim for wrongful termination or discrimination.
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