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Mass Layoffs and Termination: Negotiating Severance Packages

Posted by Jamison Mark on Mar 14, 2015 2:23:48 PM

The layoffs are coming! The layoffs are coming! Nothing can be scarier than hearing those words through the grapevine. In fact, it’s hard to ignore, especially these days, when you cannot pick up the paper without seeing news of job cuts in Northern and Central New Jersey. Mass layoffs, reductions in force, downsizing, job cuts and termination -- an attorney can help you negotiate a fair and reasonable severence package that protects your rights and helps ease your worries.


In one of the largest recent layoffs, the Trenton School District just reported that its teachers are facing a 10% reduction in force. Industry leaders like Campbell's Soup in Camden and Anheuser-Busch in Newark are just a couple of other companies who have announced they will be downsizing their NJ-based operations in 2015. Some companies, like car giant, Mercedes-Benz, are considering closing their doors in Bergen County altogether and relocating out of state.

Whether expected or not, mass layoffs and job cuts are never easy. Often when a company needs to cut jobs it puts together a severance package for employees as a way to soften the blow of losing a job. A severance package can include a number of assurances, such as a continuation of pay and benefits, and often times will outline ways to help with future job placements and referrals.  While the idea of a severance package can be comforting, employees are usually asked to make a quick decision, sometimes with only a week or two to review. 

Most people find that the hardest part about negotiating a severance is not knowing whether they are being offered a fair and equitable deal. Calculating left over benefits and vacation time that you are owed can get complicated. Also, no one wants to unknowingly forfeit any rights. As part of the agreement, the company will usually ask an employee to sign a waiver guaranteeing that he or she will not pursue legal action against the company in the future. These waivers typically come with a disclaimer, notifying the employee that they should have an experienced attorney's help to review the offer before they sign.

Hiring an attorney experienced in employment law issues will also help you determine whether there are any other causes of actions that you could purse against the employer, such as workplace discrimination claims, or for violations of any federal and state laws, such as Worker’s Compensation, Family Medical Leave Act or various whistleblower statutes. Another consideration when dealing with a layoff is understanding the unemployment process.   For instance, do you know whether you can apply for unemployment in the state of NJ when receiving severance payments? An attorney can help you figure it out and answer your other questions.

Whatever your situation calls for, the loss of a job can lead to a very confusing and stressful time for you and your family.  Nobody ever really wants to be laid off. Our lawyers at the Mark Law Firm can quickly and diligently review your severance package to look at all of your options and ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.


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Topics: Employment Law

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