By Elizabeth S. Loring, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
Yes. A severance agreement is a legally binding contract, and you should get the advice of an attorney before you sign one. Most severance packages give you a monetary amount in exchange for your agreement not to take any legal action against your former employer. Some also impose additional restrictions on your ability to work for a competitive company or hire their current employees. Also, most severance agreements do not adequately address concerns you may have regarding what the company will respond to reference requests or whether you will be entitled to unemployment compensation.
Because you are giving up your right to take any legal action, it is important to consult an attorney to see if you have claims that might be worth more than what the company is offering. Even if there are no potential claims, or the company is not willing to increase the severance, it is worth seeing an attorney to make sure the company does not tell potential employers things that may interfere with your job search or your unemployment compensation.