If you are asking for severance upon your resignation, does your employer need to agree to it before you sign separation paperwork?

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If you are asking for severance upon your resignation, does your employer need to agree to it before you sign separation paperwork?

I am sending in my letter of resignation soon. I am arguing for severance in exchange for not filing a lawsuit. I am giving 2 weeks’ notice but I expect that they will ask me to leave immediately. If they do not agree to the severance, can I refuse to sign the separation paperwork until the 2 weeks’ notice has concluded? That gives me 2 weeks to convince them that the severance is in everyone’s best interest. Alternatively, if I do sign the paperwork, have I lost my only opportunity to get severance, or can that happen later? If they require that I leave immediately rather than asking me to leave, is that involuntary termination? Based on the fact that I have brought violations to their attention in my resignation letter and in documented HR reports beforehand, would that be considered retaliatory?

Asked on August 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Do NOT sign anything until they offer you severance--and if they never off you anything (which they do not have to), don't sign the separation paperwork at all; there is no legal obligation on you to sign separation paperwork, and doing so is generally quid pro quo for getting something (e.g. severance) in return.
No, if you send in your resignation and they ask to leave immediately, that is not involuntary termiantion: once you tell them you are resigning, they can treat it as effective immediately and do not need to honor the notice period you gave (notice is a tradition, not a legal requirement).


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