{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Does anyone have suggestions for how to negotiate a severance? I was laid off with zero warning after being told my job was secure. They blindsided me. \n\nThey’re also trying to get me to sign the NDA ASAP so we can “leave on good terms”. They made sure to draw my attention to the non disparagement clause. I have 21 days to sign, so not sure what that means from a risk factor situation for them. \n\nI asked for additional comp and health insurance. They came back with slightly better package.", "post_id": "5f5f1929de9c490028c5835f", "reply_count": 22, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5aa09fa1df00640013ea6edc", "bowl_name": "NYC Advertising" }

Does anyone have suggestions for how to negotiate a severance? I was laid off with zero warning after being told my job was secure. They blindsided me. They’re also trying to get me to sign the NDA ASAP so we can “leave on good terms”. They made sure to draw my attention to the non disparagement clause. I have 21 days to sign, so not sure what that means from a risk factor situation for them. I asked for additional comp and health insurance. They came back with slightly better package.

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I’m just more of a skeptic I suppose. Why would you settle for the least amount? They are incentivized to give you almost nothing. A few months of pay is very little for them and very important for us, the workers. I think the “hurry up and sign” is the strategy to make people accept bare bones because they are relying on people being made to feel that they are the ones being an inconvenience. You know what’s an inconvenience? Getting laid off with zero warning in the middle of the pandemic. Capitalism is garbage. We’ve been brainwashed to think this is normal. Other countries (France, Spain, Italy, Germany) don’t treat their employees like this.

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This is totally standard. It’s CYA for the company. But I hate the principle of the nda - where have we heard that before? Stormy... anyways, it sounds like you haven’t been there long, and I know many people who get 1 week for every year worked so several months sounds like a good deal for you. Well done for negotiating up- it makes you feel empowered in an otherwise powerless situation. Last advice: ask them for non disparagement in return (about you), and ask for the ability to get a positive reference. They’ll say no, but it’s a smart thing to ask for. If they refuse, ask them to agree on a back story/ agreed language around your departure (Covid lay-off?) Finally, you can ask for extensions to HC, and also confirm they’ll approve unemployment.

Running the agreement past an employment lawyer wouldn’t hurt. They’ll see things you won’t. Might cost a couple hundred bucks. Odds are they won’t end up giving you more money, but who knows?

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Ask that the disparagement clause be mutual and not just one way.

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It sounds like fairly by-the-book standard procedure from you now ex-employer. Others are likely in the same boat as you in the company so they are working through a mass procedure and it’s not personal. I would expedite it by signing and move on as quickly as possible and not let this situation get toxic and then it negatively drags down your mental/physical health. View it as your catalyst to hit the next stage of your career running — you’ll look back as say ‘might be the best thing that happened to me as I am now here...fill in blank. Apologies if I come across pollyanna-ish...

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Contact an employment attorney

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^ bad advice, unless there’s proof of discrimination and that’s extremely hard to prove.

Unfortunately in NYC law doesnt mandate COs to give severance. If you re not in absolute need of cash then don’t sign anything and ask a specific sum of severance you require from them for you to sign-Write them also an email that if they don’t pay that amount you “reserve the right” to transfer knowledge from any work produced by “you” to another employer.

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I was advised by my BFF who is a lawyer to fight it out. What do you all think? Are they trying to get me to sign the NDA so I don’t tell people what they did? It seems weird if I have 21 days. (I’m 40! This is actually a worker protection policy from the ‘60’s era civil rights work. Probably one of the few remaining protections for workers left TBH) Anyone have experience? I’ve never done this before. I know lump sum severances are also taxed up the ass. So I definitely think they should gross it up. Ideas? Thanks!

NDA’s are par for the course. You have to have a rock solid case for a lawyer to take it on amongst everything happening during COVID. Also fighting it can burn a bridge or burn you. Would notify them that you will be taking some time to look everything over and will respond. Remember that signing is optional unless if you need the severance and additional package benefits.

I’m not an expert in this category, but something similar happened two me. So it’s happened at least twice. Was told to sign a non-disparagement thing in exchange for severance. Good luck out there, OP.

You can always tell your story anonymously via social media. Also have them define "disparagement". If you just say factually what happened, is that disparagement? If so, they are admitting wrong doing.

They can’t disparage you from describing facts. E.g. I was about to go on Maternity leave. I was fired for cause. They didn’t want to tell me the cause. They offered me severance though. I don’t believe there was cause, of course I signed. That’s enough for any reasonable human to infer what happened. But don’t add a value judgement to it (and don’t bring it up unless you really have to).

I’ve been on the other side delivering said agreement. It’s standard practice. If you want to push for more, you definitely can but make sure you have money set aside because you don’t get your severance and other benefits until you sign the paperwork. And sadly, unless this was at an I dependent agency, everyone who presented to you were following orders.

Unless it was in the contract you signed at hire (which is unlikely unless you’re c-suite level), severance is never guaranteed. NY is an at-will state, too, so you can be terminated (or quit!) without notice. My understanding is proving Wrongful Termination (like discrimination or sexual harassment) is difficult and not worth the legal fees unless you have a rock solid case and a lengthy paper trail to support your claims. In my experience, agencies require you to sign the NDA as a contingency to receiving severance. So... take the money because they could theoretically revoke the offer altogether!

It’s pretty standard and not worth stressing over unless there’s something weird in the fine print like a 5 year non-compete. I saw this in my boss’s case and she did hire a lawyer. But the parting was acrimonious and she spent a lot of money so not sure it was worth it. Run it past a lawyer friend for sure but I’d sign it and move on.

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