Diana (Taylor) Servos, principal attorney of S.T. Legal Group, an employment law practice in Deerfield, Illinois, frequently helps her clients negotiate employment agreements. In many cases, without her assistance, termination clauses they did not pay close attention to during the hiring process could come back to bite them when they are laid off. This is why it’s essential to seek her legal counsel early on.
What is are termination clauses?
The termination clause of an employment agreement, also known as a severance clause, clarifies the rights and responsibilities of the employer and employee at the time the job ends. Though this part of the document may not seem pressing at the time of hire, it is naive for either party to imagine that a termination is improbable. As a matter of fact, situations often arise in which an employee claims wrongful termination.
What “At-Will” Doesn’t Mean
Illinois, like the vast majority of states, is an at-will employment state, meaning an employer can fire an employee for any reason or for no reason at all. Nonetheless, there is a significant caveat accompanying this law — no employee can be terminated for a reason that violates the law. This means that an employer who engages in wrongful termination — i.e. termination for discriminatory reasons, reasons that violate a signed contract, or reasons that punish an employee for whistleblowing — can be sued for damages.
If you are an employee who has been unlawfully terminated or an employer who has been accused of unlawful terminating one of your employees, you need the sharp skills of Diana Servos. If you are now constructing a termination clause or considering signing an employment agreement that includes one, it is in your best interests to read the following content.
What Termination Clauses Typically Contain
Understanding the risks disgruntled employees may pose to their former employers, termination clauses are typically designed to protect employers at the time of termination with:
- A non-disclosure provision barring employees from discussing reasons for termination (stated or perceived) or disclosing any confidential business matters
- A non-disparagement agreement in which employees agree to refrain from making any negative statements about the employer publicly or privately, including on social media websites
Termination clauses in employment agreements also nearly always require employees to waive their right to make any future legal claims concerning termination against their employer.
WARN Notifications in Illinois
In Illinois, when many employees are being laid off at once or the business is closing altogether, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) laws require business owners with 75 or more employees to provide terminated employees with a period of notice (usually 60 days).
During that period of notice, the employer must continue to pay wages and benefits to all full-time employees who have worked at least 6 months of the last 12. Furthermore, workers over the age of 40 have additional protection under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, a provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
These periods of notice provide important protections for the employees since they provide income during a job search and transition. Nonetheless, a great many employees are not included under the WARN umbrella.
How Diana (Taylor) Servos Can Help
Employers generally have the advantage when it comes to termination clauses so it is critical that employees seek legal advice to make sure they understand what they are signing onto when they sign employment agreements.
Contacting S.T. Legal Group before you sign an employment agreement will level the playing field between you and your employer. She will negotiate your termination clause in order to secure:
- Maximum severance pay in exchange for signing away your rights to further claims and for agreeing not to speak negatively about your employer, not to work for a nearby competitor, and not to disclose any private information about the company.
- All bonuses and paid time off you are entitled to
- Vested rights in employee benefit plan (e.g. retirement benefits or stock options)
- Health insurance coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months after termination
- References confirming that you were an employee in good standing to other companies asking for recommendations
S.T. Legal Group Goes Above and Beyond
Diana (Taylor) Servos’ communication and negotiation talents are noteworthy so in some cases she may be able to:
- Persuade your employer to pay your COBRA premiums for a set period of time or arrange for a lump sum be added to your severance package
- Have your employer agree to send you off with not simple “good standing” references, extremely positive ones
- Have your employer pay for arbitration fees if you become involved in a dispute that requires previously agreed-on arbitration
Contact Our Experienced Employment Attorney Today
As you can see, Diana (Taylor) Servos is a dedicated employment attorney who will always provide you with efficient, effective legal counsel and personalized attention. Whether you are an employee or an employer dealing with a situation involving the termination clauses of employment agreements, when you contact S.T. Legal Group you will get the astute representation you can count on.
S.T. Legal Group employment lawyers represent employers and employees in Deerfield, Lake, and Cook Counties and throughout the state of Illinois.