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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My last day was Friday. I worked for 22 years 9 months. I

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My last day was Friday. I worked for 22 years 9 months. I got 46 weeks severance. Is that fair? Is that right? Should I have gotten more?

I signed the severance form. They told me I have ten days from signing to withdraw my signature. Is that true?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am so sorry to hear that you were let go.

Under the federal WARN Act, an employer with at least 100 employees that lays off at least 50 during a 30-day period must either give 60 days notice of the lay off or pay 60 days wages. Otherwise, there is no law either state or federal which requires an employer to pay any severance at all.

Thus, in most circumstances, severance amounts are purely up the employer. I can tell you that ordinarily speaking a severance amount of 46 weeks is quite large. Perhaps your employer believes you may have a legitimate legal action against them and is providing such a large severance as an incentive to get you to sign a waiver. Understand that by accepting this severance money, you will ordinarily be foregoing your right to take any legal action against your employer.

Also understand that, while you would be foregoing legal action, there would still be no guarantee of success, no guarantee that what you recover would exceed the severance being offered, and that it may be months or even years before you actually see that money.

If an employer gives an employee a specific window within which to withdraw their signature from a severance agreeement, that would ordinarily be enforceable. Furthermore, if the agreement contains a waiver of an employee's right to sue under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the employer must as a matter of law give the employee at least 21 days to consider the agreement (longer if other employees are given the ADEA waivers at the same time).

Here on Just Answer we can only provide general information about the law--I am not your attorney, have not reviewed all the facts of your situation, and cannot "tell you what to do." What I can say, in summary, is that the severance you have been offered is relatively large, and that employers are under no legal obligation to provide any severance at all, though if an employer is interested in obtaiing a waiver of an employee's right to sue, they will have motiviation to get the employee to accept severance in exchange for a waiver. If the agreement permits you to revoke your acceptance, that may be done, and if the agreement contains an ADEA waiver, you must have 21 days to consider it.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.
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