Am I Entitled to Severance Upon Termination?

Severance can provide a lifeboat for individuals recently terminated from their work, but whether or not an employee is entitled to severance depends on several factors. For those who were terminated and expected severance, but didn’t receive a package, there are a few avenues available to argue for it.

To start, there is no requirement under New York law that dictates an employer must provide their employees with severance. While many companies voluntarily provide severance, there’s no law dictating that they must do so, or what it must consist of. An employee may, however, have grounds to argue for severance if the company has made agreements to provide it. Severance agreements are normally established in an employment contract, so employees ought to carefully re-read their contract to see if they were promised severance and didn’t receive it. Some contracts include clauses that can make employees ineligible for severance due to a specific termination reason, such as a mandatory length of service to the company. Additionally, employees who were terminated for some form of misconduct may be ineligible for severance, as this is a common clause in severance agreements.

Some companies have policies that dictate the rules for severance which apply to every employee. In this case, employees should review the policy and ensure it’s being applied evenly and fairly. The severance agreement should have terms that are consistent and applied just as they are written. Notable differences in how severance is given to different employees may be a cause for concern, as giving similar employees different severance packages or not giving them to certain employees at all may give rise to a discrimination or other claim. Verbal promises of severance may also be legally binding. 

If you have been terminated and have either been offered a severance package or believe you may be entitled to one, consider hiring experienced counsel to help protect your rights. For more information, contact us today.

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Canales PLLC

As a minority-owned law firm with experience across a broad range of industries and subject matters, Canales PLLC understands the importance of creating diverse, client-centered solutions that cater to each client’s particular needs.

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