NH Severance Pay – It is hard to think rationally when you’ve just been let go from your job. But thinking rationally at this point is crucial, not only for finding a new job but for negotiating a peaceful separation from the old one.
What is Severance Pay
A “peaceful separation” is precisely what severance is. When your former supervisor offers you severance pay, what she is really offering is to “buy peace” from you and any employment-based lawsuit that you might be thinking about. The deal offered is money that the employer would not otherwise have to pay you in exchange for your contractual promise not to sue the employer. This latter part is called the “release.”
No New Hampshire statute requires the employer to offer severance pay. New Hampshire wage law does categorize “severance pay” as “wages” that must be paid if an employer has a “practice or policy” of paying severance. But most employers are very secretive about offering severance, so it can be difficult to prove a “practice or policy” of paying severance, for the purpose of compelling severance pay.
This is not to say that employees who aren’t offered severance, or who are offered very little, are out of options. Remember that severance is offered out of anxiety over a pending lawsuit from you, and it is negotiable. To the extent that your termination or lay off looks like it might be in violation of the law, for example, anti-discrimination or whistleblowing laws, your release of claims has greater value, and you and your attorney can negotiate for severance pay or higher severance pay.
NH Employment Law Attorneys
For this reason and for many more, including that severance and release contract language can be difficult to understand, employees are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice in the event their employer suggests a severance agreement.
Our office provides severance consultation to recently terminated employees at a reasonable cost. Call (603) 288-1403 to have us review your severance agreement.