When you had your employment terminated, it is likely that you were in a state of shock and perhaps panic. When such an unexpected thing happens, we may worry about our future, and especially about our finances. Therefore, when a severance pay package is offered, we will most likely accept it without thinking twice.
Many terminated employees, after having a few days or weeks to reflect on their termination, may come to the conclusion that they were, in fact, wrongfully terminated. The reason why they might feel this way could be due to discrimination, or because they made a complaint shortly before their termination. Whatever the reason for the belief that they were wrongfully terminated from their job, they may be worried that since they already accepted their severance pay, they may be unable to make a claim.
Can I still make a legal claim?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that a severance pay package should not be used in order to try to discourage employees from making a legal claim. In fact, it suggests that employers should never assume that an employee won't make a legal claim just because they received a severance package.
Sometimes, a severance package is accompanied by a waiver, and these often relate to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. However, the EEOC states that it is not possible for an employee to waive their rights to make a discrimination charge filing.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated in California, you have the right to file a claim even if you accepted a severance package.