A separation of employment happens when the agreement between an employer and an employee comes to an end. There are a lot of reasons for this separation, and before signing a separation agreement, make sure you know your rights. Many people choose to sign a separation agreement in exchange for a severance package. However, you may have other options besides signing the separation agreement. You should always consult with an employment attorney if you feel your employer has not met their obligations under an employment contract.
The employment contract you signed at the start of your employment should dictate your responsibilities to the employer and your employer’s responsibility to you. Under state and federal labor laws, companies must abide by employment laws that dictate the rights and responsibilities of the employee and the employer. Your employment contract should specify the specifics of your employment including information about separation and termination policies.
At Will Employment
At will employment means either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment contract at any time for almost any reason. Under at will employment, the employer still must provide all protections to employees as per state and federal labor laws. At will employees can sue the employer if the termination or separation results from any type of discrimination. This type of contract does not require the employer to provide the specific reason for termination or separation.
The employment contract should also specify the details of any benefits you will receive as a result of employment. Benefits include anything given to the employee while working or as a result of working. A detailed contract will protect both the employer and the employee in the event of a disagreement. Severance pay is not mandatory in the United States. Employers are therefore not obligated by law to offer severance packages to employees.
Separation Or Termination
Wording in an employment contract is very important. You have to understand the wording and conditions laid out in the contract. These conditions can limit your rights in the event of separation or termination. If you don’t understand your employment contract, you should consult an attorney before signing the contract. Understanding your employment contract will help you to know your rights and obligations in the event of separation or termination.
- Department of Labor: Termination
- Berkeley: Sample Termination Agreement; November 2004
- "The Employee Rights Handbook: The Essential Guide for People on the Job"; Steven Sack; October 2000
Brian Bass has written about accountancy-related topics and accounting trends for "Account Today." He works as a senior auditor specializing in manufacturing and financial services companies for one of the Big 5 accounting firms. Bass hold a master's degree in accounting from the University of Utah.