Can a Florida Employer Be Sued After Providing Severance Pay to a Terminated Worker?
Generally, an employee waives a right to sue their employer by signing a severance agreement. But does providing severance pay mean that the terminated employee is prohibited from suing their employer in Florida?
What does Florida’s employment law say about severance agreements? When do employers have an obligation to provide severance pay to terminate lawyers?
Does Florida Employment Law Require Severance Pay?
Florida law does not explicitly require employers to provide severance pay upon their employees’ termination of employment. However, if there is such a requirement in an employment agreement – the so-called severance agreement – the employer has an obligation to comply.
Generally, Florida employers provide separation pay for a multitude of reasons. Often, employers pay severance to those who are terminated as part of a layoff or a reduction in force, or in any other situation where the employee is losing their job through no fault of their own.
Typically, severance pay is the “reward” for employees who sign a separation agreement, which usually includes provisions that favor the employer. Many Florida employers offer a separation agreement when they are concerned about a potential complaint or lawsuit from a terminated employee.
Regardless of what the employer’s intention is, it is vital to have a properly drafted severance agreement to avoid commercial litigation and employer-employee disputes. Similarly, employees must consult with a West Palm Beach employment law attorney before signing a separation agreement. Your lawyer will review the agreement to interpret the potential consequences of signing it.
Can Employees Sue Their Employer After Accepting Severance Pay?
But can an employee bring legal action against their Florida employer after accepting severance pay? If there is a severance agreement that waives the employee’s right to bring any claim against their employer, the worker will generally be prohibited from suing their employer.
In some cases, employees are able to negotiate more favorable terms in their severance agreement with their employer. Prior to signing a severance agreement, a terminated employee’s attorney can also review potential legal claims to determine whether suing the employer is a better alternative to accepting severance pay.
Should an Employee Sign a Severance Agreement?
When considering whether to sign a severance agreement upon the termination of employment, the employee should not be concerned exclusively with the amount offered in the severance pay.
There are various other non-economic terms in a severance agreement to watch out for. For example, many employees underestimate the importance of a non-compete clause in their separation agreement. The clause may preclude future employment.
A waiver of an employee’s right to sue their employer on any grounds is equally essential to consider before signing a severance agreement. After all, if an employee was wrongfully terminated or there were other violations of labor law, the worker could potentially obtain more money by suing the employer rather than accepting severance pay.
Either way, you should ask an experienced West Palm Beach employment law attorney to provide a thorough analysis of your severance agreement. Speak with our results-driven lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to discuss your agreement and options. Call at 561-291-8298.