Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Companies often use "reduction in force" as a false pretense to terminate someone. But an investigation may reveal that the job wasn't actually eliminated but given to another employee. Or for example, you are equally qualified to similarly situated, but another employee is selected for a particular job. This is generally how these cases are litigated. If you do not believe you have any basis to show the termination is for a false pretense - i.e., you have no suspicion that the company does not have to reduce payroll, then you really have no leverage in negotiations other than the fact that they may truly need a lower payroll to have their books appear more appealing to an investor, which is your intuition rather than a known fact.
I've negotiated severance packages for clients ranging from small firms to fortune 500 companies, and I can tell you they all have different policies on how willing they are to negotiate a severance package. Some will not negotiate even if you threaten to sue them...others are always willing negotiate...it's just impossible to tell. But there's no law or legal requirement for them to offer X amount of severance for year(s) of service. Two weeks of severance in my experience is a fairly low severance offer, but I have no idea of the value of the stock .
One option you may consider is retaining a local attorney to draft a demand letter for more severance for yourself. I often do this for clients, and what I try to do is point out possible liability they have in the termination and in exchange for releasing that claim demand more severance. Other than this my thoughts on this are that you have a choice of options - 1) take the severance package, you'd be giving up any right to sue but you at least get the 2 weeks pay and benefits, 2) try to push them up on your own - on the theory that they simply want you off the books as soon as possible (I'd suggest you at least ask for 2- 3 months severance)...but you do risk losing the original offer of severance.
I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.
thanks for you reply.
This is a small company ( ceo runs everything). I had asked for 8 weeks and they came back with the same - no change.
I just spoke to the CFO again and asked him to reconsider, so they could get me off their back. It is clear, they are doing this to make the books look good.
thanks for you advice.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).