Renegotiate Severance?

After 8 years, I was RIF'ed by my employer in Arizona which is a U.S. wide corporation based in Michigan. As a G.M. with extensive knowledge of the company�s risks, liabilities and legal practices, I was offered what I believe is a boiler plate severance package. Which states laws prevail?

1 answer  |  asked Jun 18, 2007 5:54 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Choice of Law may not matter

To answer your question, I need a bit more information. If you were hired in Michigan and transferred to Arizona, Michigan may have as many reasons to apply its law as Arizona does to apply Arizona law. If you were hired in Arizona to work in Arizona, there doesn't seem to be any reason to apply Michigan law. But before you get all caught up in this issue, you have to answer the classic lawyer's question - why do you ask? If you are concerned about possible discrimination, federal law is the same in both states. If you believe you may have a claim of breach of contract, the contract on which you are relying is as important as the question which law applies. The applicable law may be the same in both states.
Arizona does not have a provision that requires the payment of severance at all, and I doubt that Michigan law requires severance to be paid. So if you want to negotiate for a higher severance, you need something to negotiate with. Your extensive knowledge should tell you that the only real leverage you have in such a negotiation is the threat of a possible legal claim. But don't assume that your potential claim is better if one state's law applies rather than another. Have an experienced employment attorney review the situation with you to see if you have any legal recourse.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jun 18, 2007 8:18 PM [EST]

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