How can I receive severance payment from my former company after being let-go from my job without prior notice?

I was in a project management position earning 140k in salary. I was there for just under 2 years. I’m 65 years old.

Asked on July 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can't get severance from them unless:
1) They voluntarily choose to offer you severance--there is NO legal requirement to pay employees severance when they are terminated. Usually, severance is in exchange for signing some sort of "separation and release" agreement (SRA) in which you agree to one or more of the following: i) to not compete; ii) to give up any possible legal claims you might have--though most times, you do not have any valid ones; or iii) maintain business secrets or confidences. If they don't care about you agreeing to any of those, there is no reason for them to offer you severance.
2) You had a written employment contract which guaranted you severance: if you did, you can enforce its terms, including, if necessary, in court with a "breach of contract" lawsuit.
Otherwise, you can't get severance--severance for long-term employees is common, but not required.
However, if you are 65 and you believe that you were terminated because of your age--and more importantly, as a practical matter, believe that there is evidence that this is why you were terminated--you may be able to file an age discrimination claim with the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency. 


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