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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 35383
Experience:  16 years practicing attorney
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I've been employed by a well known company since last

Customer Question

I've been employed by a well known company since last August.My direct report was also new (just a few months into the job) and did not provide enough guidance in my role, nor I was presented with goals to be met. She was constantly asking my peers (also subordinates) for answers on what to do on a daily basis.HR approached me, questioning my boss' knowledge etc, and at the time, requested by the team - but I could not make a fair judgement.My 1st week, the junior associate quit and I had to replace him to focus on a smaller - but with extreme exposure to customer facing + rest of the company - and unfortunately made some wide spread mistakes. I immediately was labeled 'not to be trusted'. These mistakes were In most of part for lack of guidance, 3rd part vendors mistakes, but the trust was broken with the rest of my peers.This resulted me not being involved with the other parts my responsibilities - I was not trained or exposed in relevant tools, therefore I did not progress in the role that I was first hired for.
Feeling the lack of training, I reached out to HR and I was told to ask to be more involved, but my boss refused and isolated me even more in the process.The rest of team roles / responsibilities also shifted due to our Technology tool being updated/redesigned.Now I was given 2 options by HR:1st - A 30 plan:
- 30 days to meet goals that were originally on paper.
- If not met, I would be dismissed and not right to unemployment.2nd - Severance plan (mutual):
- next Friday to be my in last the office
- 30 days severance pay (on the books till March 1st)
- benefits extended till end of March
- unused 15 days vacation
- eligible to unemploymentI could not apply to any to other jobs in the companyQUESTION:
Do I have any grounds for more Severance pay?Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes and ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you under any written employment contract that states the employer is required to pay some set amount as severance in the event of a separation?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I have a "at will"signed contract
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also a PDP (professional dev. plan) is an important part of the company culture and that was not given to me..
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, then without a contract that mandates severance, it is entirely voluntary on the part of the employer. They are under no legal obligation to offer anything at all because, as you are aware, NY is an "at will" employment state in the absence of a written fixed term employment contract..

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So from a legal perspective I don't see anything based on your comments that would give you leverage to use to negotiate a better severance package. They are likely offering it simply as a means to get you to move along quietly rather than have to respond to a potential suit for discrimination or unlawful termination or something similar if you were to claim something like that and hire an attorney to try and sue them.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it legal to dismiss an employee with 'warnings' or 'performance plan'?Any advice on how to try to leverage in getting more severance,
if I say it would take me more than 1 month to find another job?If they really want to get rid of me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I meant to say:Is it legal to dismiss an employee without 'warnings' or 'performance plan'?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Is it legal to dismiss an employee with 'warnings' or 'performance plan'?

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Under an "at will" employment status, yes. Only if you have a fixed term employment contract that states specific conditions under which an employee can be fired are they prevented from doing so.

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Any advice on how to try to leverage in getting more severance, if I say it would take me more than 1 month to find another job?

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Honestly, the only way you can put pressure on them to up the offer is to convince them that you have a legitimate reason to potentially sue them for something. So the only way I can see you gaining some leverage is if there is some type of discrimination you can point to as a reason for their actions that could give you grounds to sue.

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It is very expensive to hire attorneys to defend, so if you can give them the impression that you will sue, even if you don't have much to sue on, that may get them to up the offer.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the advice!
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. Glad to help any time..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One last thing, it's in my contract I would participate in this PDP but again, it was not given to me.Can i use this in my defense?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

If this was stated was a requirement in your contract prior to any dismissal, then yes, that could be used as leverage for a better severance package. If they agreed to it in a contract and they failed to follow their own contractual obligations, then that would give you grounds to sue for unlawful termination and breach of contract.

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thanks

Barrister