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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37854
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have a severance package that they sent me saying they would

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I have a severance package that they sent me saying they would pay me or 16 weeks base salary which equaled to 20,840, Now they don't want to pay me this and made a mistake on it so now they want to pay me 8,000 instead. Can they do this?

In order for you to enforce your right to the original severance package, you must show that you have continued to work for the employer in "detrimental reliance" upon the severance offer.

For example, if you had another job offer, and you turned it down because of your current employer's severance offer, and the other offer is no longer available, then the modified severance causes you approximately $8,000 in damages due to your detrimental reliance, on the original offer.

Conversely, if you simply continued to work, and the employer changed its offer, then there is nothing that you can do, because as an "at will" employee, your employer could completely revoke the severance offer, and you would have no claim against them.

In sum, you need to be able to show that you stayed on the job because of the offer, and by doing so, you gave up something of value that you could have received, had you refused the offer and quit your job.

Please let me know if my answer is helpful, or if I can provide further clarification or assistance.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok I am lost. can u call me to explain this. I do not understand. XXX-XXX-XXXX

Per website policy, and state law, all correspondence must take place through this interface. The website, obscures any attempt to send your phone number to me -- even if it did not, I would still be unable to contact you via phone.

There's an easy way for us to resolve your confusion. Simply answer the following question for yourself:

  • What have you given up in exchange for the original severance package?

If your answer is, "nothing," then you cannot enforce the original severance package against the employer. If you have given up something in exchange for the original severance package, then tell me what that something is, and I will be happy to tell you whether or not you can enforce the original severance against the employer.


Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can I send u the document and u read and tell what they can do or not.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Can I send u a copy of the document I signed and sent back and then u can give me an answer.
If you upload the document to, and then give me a link to the document in your next reply, I'll be happy to look at it.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.,afau7mwtmn6yk4w/shared

I need to walk the dog (seriously). Back in 15-30 minutes.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please take a look and let me know as soon as u can.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please take a look and let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are u back yet?

I'm a little confused about the jurisdictional issues.

1. You are apparently employed in California, but the employer is located in Ohio (y/n)?

2. If #1 is yes, then have you always been based in California, or did you come here from Ohio or somewhere else?

3. If #2 is yes, then where were you based previously, and when did you come to California?

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1. N

2. No, still there.

3. Still in Ohio.

I thought I was talking to an Ohio lawyer. Can u still look and see though.

The contract contains a provision that is specific only to California law, which makes it really oddball, if you and the employer are located in Ohio.

Anyway, what I see here is rather interesting. The contract states that you are terminated as of Oct 4, 2013. But, you signed the contract on Oct 9, 2013. If you were actually terminated on Oct 4, then this contract is entirely independent of your employment, which means that it's separately enforceable. You were offered $X to waive your rights and submit to a noncompete agreement, you agreed, therefore it's enforceable on its face, because your consideration for the various agreements contained in the contract were made in exchange for the payment of money.

The employer cannot alter the deal after the fact.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So should I hire a lawyer n fight this. What is your opinion? Also, can they do anything to my husband since he works for the same place I did. They can't fire him can they if I don't accept their new offer.

Let's talk about your husband, first. Assuming he's an "at will" employee (no special contract that prevents his being fired at any time, then the employer can terminate your husband.

Firing your husband could be construed as felony criminal extortion, if the employer were to terminate him after threatening to do so, unless you either agree to the change or drop the lawsuit.

But, if the employer were to fire your husband, just because it can, without any connection to your legal action, then the employer can do so, and neither you nor your husband would have any recourse.

So, that's the unlucky choice. You can accept the risk of your husband's termination, and fight the change, or you can accept the change.

However, you could also be played for a sucker here -- because you could sign the changed terms and conditions, and then the employer could fire your husband anyway. So, if you intend to sign the change, you may want to get an addendum that states your husband is not subject to termination except for willful and malicious or grossly negligent conduct for at least one year after your sign the modified agreement.

Otherwise, you could really get a bad surprise here, if the employer decides that your husband is no longer needed.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks! I get it.

You're welcome and good luck!
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