California Employment Law
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Severance is always negotiable, so you can absolutely negotiate to have the severance paid in full regardless of whether you find new work. In fact, that is really the more common arrangement. As for proceeding with a lawsuit after you sign a release of claims, the answer to that is "no," you cannot typically do that. The very purpose of a release of claims is to prohibit you from suing. That is why your employer is paying you money. You cannot both take the money and sue, as under that circumstance your employer is not receiving any benefit from the bargain. The only exception would be if your employer does something AFTER you sign the agreement that is actionable (i.e. they defame you to prospective employers). You cannot waive the right to bring a claim for something that has not happened yet, so in the case of future wrongs committed you would still have a claim.
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