A severance package consists of pay and benefits that employees receive when they leave a place of employment unwillfully. In addition to the employee’s regular remaining pay that they are owed, a severance package might include any additional pay based on the employee’s month of service as well as any accrued but unused paid time off, vacation time, holiday pay, and sick leave.
A severance package isn’t required by law, but the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that an employer must pay any employee whose employment has been terminated their regular pay through the date that employment ends plus for any paid time off that has been accrued.
If you were guaranteed a severance package as a term of your employment, and you don’t receive it, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for failing to follow through. If the employer promised employees or led them to believe that there would be a severance package, they may be contractually obligated to follow through and provide that severance pay to its workers. You should maintain supporting documentation to show that you were promised a severance package when you were hired.
Supporting Documentation and Evidence
Whenever you are hired in at any job, you should receive new hire paperwork including a contract, a new employee handbook, a job description, and other paperwork. You should always keep these documents as they can be very beneficial later. If your employer disputes your claim to a severance package, or if they offer you an incomplete severance package, you can argue your case with evidence and documentation to support your claim.
Any documents you are given that mention changes or updates to company policy should be kept throughout the duration of your employment. This would include memos, or new agreements. The more documentation that you have to support your claim the more likely you are to succeed with your claim against your employer.
You should keep records that help determine any accumulated paid time off so your employment lawyer can determine how many days you have accumulated and how many of them you have used. Your attorney can determine if you were properly compensated at the time you departed your job. You want to make sure you are fairly compensated and get all the pay that you are entitled to receive when you leave the job.
Your employer cannot deny you payment for any accumulated but unused vacation pay or sick days. If they do, you should contact the human resources department and tell them of the discrepancy. If they don’t correct the mistake, then you should talk with a lawyer who handles employment law cases.
Here are some of the documents that you will need to prove you were entitled to a severance package:
- Employment contract
- Employee handbook
- Updated agreements or contracts
- Meeting notes
- Emails from supervisors or corporate
Also, statements from coworkers who received similar offers or who were attending the same discussion or meetings can also be beneficial. Remember, the more documentation and evidence you have to support your claim, the more likely you are to have success and recover your damages or losses.
Consult With an Employment Lawyer
If you believe you should have received a severance package when you were separated from your employer and you didn’t get it, then you should talk with an employment attorney who specializes in wage and benefit claims. An attorney will be able to help ensure you have as much evidence to support your claim as possible. Without the legal assistance, you may miss crucial details that help support your claim.
You have a time limit, or a statute of limitations, for pursuing a claim for your severance package after you are separated from your employer. To make sure you don’t miss the deadline, you should enlist the help of an employment lawyer as soon as possible.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to have the details of your case reviewed by a lawyer that is licensed to take cases in your area. The attorney may be able to review your situation and determine if you have a legitimate claim against your place of employment and if you were owed a severance package that you did not receive.