If you lose your job, it's important to carefully review both your employment contract and employee handbook. This will help you answer a variety of questions, such as whether you are entitled to receive severance pay.
There are situations in which an employer is legally required to provide severance pay, such as the following:
- Written contract: If you have an employment contract stating that you will receive a severance package, hold your employer to this. It's a big part of your compensation package, and you have the right to receive the money that's owed to you.
- Employee handbook: Even if you don't have an employment contract stating that you'll receive severance pay, there may be language regarding this in the employee handbook.
- History: If your employer has a history of giving employees in the same situation severance pay, you can argue that you should receive the same.
- Oral agreement: It's best to get everything in writing, such as in your employment contract, but you may have an oral agreement in place with the company owner, chief executive officer (CEO), supervisor or human resources (HR) department.
Just because you are due a severance package doesn't necessarily mean your employer will offer it up upon termination. In fact, they may look for any reason to not give you the money, such as stating that your negligence resulted in your termination.
If you're entitled to severance pay and your former employer won't budge, it's time to learn more about your legal rights. You should never go away quietly, as doing so means missing out on money that you deserve.