Q: Termination and severance negotiation
I've just been terminated by my company last week and the only reason that I've received from my manager was that my role was mis-leveled. I've asked more questions but he didn't want to offer any detail! I've been with the company for 8 months, That being said I was offered 3 weeks of severance which I find it really little for a termination that was a surprise and my manager actually acknowledge it in my meeting! I worked in the HR department and we didn't have any type of severance policy, however I do know that the past 3 people (all men) that were terminated (due to underperformance) got 3 months of severance and cobra, So I was wondering if I can negotiate my severance based on that and ask for similar terms ?
A: The law does not require an employer to give any severance to an employee who is terminated. However, if it does pay severance to employees it must administer that severance in a non-discriminatory manner. For instance, if you can prove only men get severance offers but women never do (of if the amounts offered are different based on gender), you might have a meritorious legal claim. However, you need to be sure there are not other non-protected-class reasons for the difference in treatment.
Offering three months of severance payment for an 8 month employee would be quite extraordinary. However, if the company has offered men a similar package for the same amount of work with the company, perhaps you have a claim.
Your question is can you negotiate. The answer is yes, of course you can try. However the employer has no duty to engage in negotiation with you. If it wishes to do so it can hold the line and refuse to negotiate, and it can even pull the offer off the table if it wishes prior to your acceptance of the offer.
Whether the employer will agree to consider increasing the number will depend on its level of comfort with its conduct, and its stomach for risk that you might sue it for gender discrimination if it refuses your demand for more money.
Good luck to you.
Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer
1 user found this answer helpful
A: Employer is not legally required to provide reason for termination. You seem to be under the mis impression that 8 months is long term, it is not. 8 years, maybe. You don't state how long the employees who received 3 months were employed before termination. You can always try to negotiate for something better, what do you have to offer in return? There does not seem to be any threat of litigation to them. They offered you 3 weeks severance, which they are not legally obligated to do. In contract law, a counter offer (your demand for more severance) operates as a REJECTION of the offer, so everything is off the table. They could come back and offer you 1 week of severance.
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