In the state of Illinois, an employee’s employment is “at will” and means that an employee can either quit or be fired at any point during their employment. In any of these scenarios, an employee may not receive compensation once employment has been severed, however, many employers will use a severance agreement in order to let the employee go without any potential issues.
It is critical, however, that employees know their rights and what they may possibly be giving up when signing a severance agreement. Here are a few reasons why it is always best to consult with an employment attorney before signing your severance agreement:
Severance Pay- When it comes to receiving severance pay, many employees believe that they are required to sign a severance agreement. While in most cases this is true, there are some employees out there that are entitled to severance pay either through their contract or according to company policy. For this reason, it is important to consult with an attorney to ensure you are not signing an agreement if it is not necessary.
Owed Money- When an employee is terminated, he or she may be required to pay back paid time off, such as vacation or sick pay. It is imperative to ensure that in the event you owe your employer upon termination that this information is included in your severance agreement, including the amount to be paid back and the date in which it must be paid.
Employee Benefits- Severance agreements should fully explain what employee benefits will continue, including healthcare and COBRA options.
References- Most severance agreements will cover things such as their policies with disparagement and providing references. However, by hiring an employment attorney to review your severance agreement, you can negotiate how your references will be handled in the future, as well as what information will be shared with potential employers.
The attorneys at Maduff & Maduff can help to protect your rights and ensure you are receiving what is rightfully yours upon separation from employment. Contact us to see how we can help you and your employer concerns today.