Should I submit a counter offer to the severance package my company has offered.

I was recently laid off by my company in North Carolina. I have 45 days to review and sign the severance package. The question I have is should I counter for more severance pay, they have given me the minimum of 6 weeks, but it also says that at the discretion of the plan administrator it could be up to 52 weeks. The non compete clause is also set at 12 months, though when I joined the company 5 years ago the agreement I signed was only for 6 months. Should I counter their offer and if I do does it mean I risk not getting at least what they are currently offering?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 2, 2016 08:54 AM [EST]  |  applies to North Carolina

Answers (1)

Chris Wilms
A severance agreement is an offer, and when you 'counter', the legal effect is that you are rejecting their offer and making a new offer, so they are not required to re-offer if your counter is declined. Practically, however, this is not often used in the severance context as justification for not remaking the initial offer, but they would be within their rights to pull the severance from the table if you counter.

There are a few negotiation points to consider: 1) whether you have a legal claim with value that you are releasing 2) whether what you are giving up is worth more (non-compete, non-disparagement); 3) whether you have accolades or contributions to the company that justify negotiation; 4) whether there are any special circumstances that might tug at the heart strings of the employer.

Unfortunately there's not a quick answer to the question. One would have to consider the whole picture to determine whether ongoing severance negotiations is a worthwhile endeavor. You may want to consider engaging counsel to assist (http://hoplerwilms.com/blog/2016/06/04/severance-agreements-north-carolina/). You'll want to find an attorney that has experience with employment law and negotiation of severance agreements.

posted by Chris Wilms  |  Oct 3, 2016 05:37 AM [EST]

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