In today’s economy, more and more, people are losing their jobs. In many instances it has nothing to do with work performance, but just the fact that the employer is scaling back for budgetary reasons. On many occasions, when an employee has worked for years with a company, without any performance issues, the overall feeling with the employee is “how unfair.” In most states, including the one where I primarily practice, Florida, fairness does not matter when you lose your job. Since Florida is an employment at will state, an employer can fire you for any reason at all as long as it is not a violation of a contract or Federal or state law. On many occasions, the employee will want to know whether they are entitled to severance or not. In Florida, and most other states, an employer is not required to give severance pay to its terminated employees. So, if your employer is offering severance pay, it may be a good thing. However, in most cases, an employer will only pay severance after the employee signs a severance agreement which will usually contain releases of any legal rights you may have against your employer. So in most cases, you should have an attorney review your severance agreement. First, you want someone to look at it and explain its terms to you. Second, you want someone to advise you whether you are giving up some legal claims that you have against your employer that may be worth more than the severance being offered. In some instances you may also be able to have an attorney negotiate the terms or amount of your severance agreement.

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