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.
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