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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 100052
Experience:  Years of experience in running a medium sized law firm.
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I was employed years with a corporation. They decided to

Customer Question

I was employed for 31 years with a corporation. They decided to eliminate my position. They are now telling me if unless I sign the severance agreement to receive my severance pay it won't happen and as soon as I take another job it will be eliminated. Is this legal? I am 59 and not in good health.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am very sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please tell me - when you began working for the company (or sometime later), did your contract call for severance pay? Or, is there an employee handbook which describes severance pay?

Or no, to either?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I began working for the company 08/1984. The personnel handbook speaks to severance pay.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.

Thank you.

An employee actually as no right to severance pay. This is something that the employer extends to them as a courtesy. However, the employer is bound to provide severance pay if:

-it is part of a contract, or

-if it is clearly spelled out in the handbook for employees.

So if the severance pay is clearly spelled out in the handbook for employees, then they have to pay it even if someone in your situation does not sign a severance agreement.

The only problem is that if you refuse to sign the agreement, and then they refuse severance pay (per the handbook), the onus would be on you to litigate to get that pay. It is up to you to decide whether or not you wish to do this, of course.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!