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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37851
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I was told verbally by my supervising VP that HR had agreed

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I was told verbally by my supervising VP that HR had agreed to offer me 6 months’ severance as a mutual termination of my position and then several days later I was contacted by an HR representative who informed me she had made a "typo" mistake in a correspondence to my supervisor and that it was only going to be 3 months’ severance. They then came back and offered the same 3 month severance but additionally offered to keep me in my position for an additional 2 months. Do I have any legal right to hold them to the initial 6 month offer even if it were made verbally?

Good morning Chris,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

The mistake made by HR in passing on to you the substance of the severance that was to be offered was not a contract, but merely a statement of intent. It is not possible to hold an employer liable for mistakes made in passing on statements of intent, and so, under CA law, you will not be able to force them to give you the 6 months severance. Under the law, they were free to make any modification to the ultimate severance agreement that they submitted to you for your signature, regardless of what they might have initially led you to believe.

Also, as regards XXXXX XXXXX in CA---keep in mind that if the money you get is not stated in a writing as compensation for you giving up any rights you might have to sue the employer---if it is simply a lump sum of money, then unemployment will consider it wages and you will be ineligible for unemployment benefits until the number of weeks has passed which equals the weekly pay you received before termination divided into the amount of severance pay you receive. If you have to give up the right to sue in writing in order to get the severance, then you will be eligible for unemployment immediately.

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I wish you the best in 2013,


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you kindly as I truly appreciate your help.


All the best to you was well in 2013.



My pleasure, Chris. Have a great weekend ahead! If you have any new questions in the future, please feel free to ask for me by name in the question and I should be able to assist you.