If I have a severance agreement with a previous employer and it’s been over a month and they have yet to fulfill their end of the agreement, what’s next?

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If I have a severance agreement with a previous employer and it’s been over a month and they have yet to fulfill their end of the agreement, what’s next?

Agreement went into affect over a month ago. The employers attorney said a check would be sent forth-with for my unused vacation time. They also agreed to give me 1 week for every year I worked for the company which was 7 years, so 7 weeks pay. To date I have not received the vacation pay or the other money owed, it’s been over a month and the attorney keeps jerking me around saying he doesn’t know when they are going to cut the check and sign it. I also fear the company will be going out of business very soon. What is the next step I should take?

Asked on March 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have yet to receive the agreed upon check concerning your severance with respect to your former employer, I would write the lawyer who you have been in contact with stating that if you do not have the check within so many days down the road that you will either consult with an attorney that practices in the area of labor law or contact a representative with the nearest department of labor or both.

If you do not get the check owed you by then, then follow through with your statement. Make sure that you keep a copy of the letter for future use and need.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A severance agreement is a contract; if the other party is violating its obligations under it, your recourse is to sue: you bring a breach of contract action and sue for what you are owed under the agreement. If the amount is less than the maximum dollar amount for small claims court, you should probably sue there--not only can you potentially represent yourself, saving on legal fees (though you  can certainly have a lawyer in small claims if you like), but small claims cases almost invariably move more quickly than other cases.


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