I live in Ohio. I was terminated Dec. 8 and asked to sign a settlement agreement that included a severance package. I signed the contract, but now the employer wants me to sign another that will pay me less money. I am not inclined to sign the amended

The signed contract states my salary is to be paid through March 2. The salary "approximate" total only pays me through February 23. When I brought this to the employer's attention, she sent me the following reply: "It should be for 11 weeks not 12. I will recalculate the amount and let you know." Then she sent me an amended contract and told me I need to sign it. I replied that I have a signed contract that I expect her to honor. Now she's not paying me anything.

1 answer  |  asked Dec 17, 2014 07:44 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
You should consult a lawyer.

As a general rule, a party to a contract cannot unilaterally change it. Dropping the severance from 12 to 11 weeks looks like a unilateral change. Unless you received something worth more than the lost week in exchange for losing it, this would not be an enforceable amendment, since it lacks consideration.

The problem that I see with your situation is that the company might argue that you never had a contract in the first place, since there was no "meeting of the minds" as to the amount. That is, she could say she thought it was the dollar amount, while you thought it was the number of weeks.

If there is no agreement, then you did not give up your right to pursue any claims you may have against the company. Therefore, you can either bargain towards a new severance agreement, where you give up your right to sue the company in exchange for the severance payment, or you pursue your claims. I recommend the articles on MEL about negotiating severance pay. The bottom line is that you should identify any claims you may have against the company so you know what you are giving up by the release. To identify claims and their values, I recommend consulting an employment lawyer.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Dec 17, 2014 08:07 AM [EST]

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