Tips for Malibu Employers and Employees Negotiating Severances

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In today’s turbulent times, helping a laid off employee transition into new employment can be difficult, but Harrison Barnes PLC can help.

Harrison Barnes PLC

Harrison Barnes PLC

Facing a great opportunity or a major crisis, you need to trust the experience, creativity, and dedication we provide. We are proud to be lawyers.

The health of the economy is improving, and here in Malibu, new businesses are popping up all over town. Vintage grocers is set to open March 5 in the Trancas Country Market and Soul Cycle will be coming to Malibu Village at Cross Creek Road. However, businesses in Malibu and beyond are still conducting lay-offs. As Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor, reported on February 12, 2014, Patch Media, which has websites and editorial staff in Malibu and surrounding communities, laid off “two-thirds” of its staff on January 29.

If you are an employer, you probably want to assist each of the employees you let go with his or her transition into new employment. In addition, regardless of whether the employee was laid off, outsourced or even fired for poor performance, employers often (reasonably) fear negative publicity, the possibility of being sued and the disruptive time and expense of litigation.

A strategically crafted separation or severance agreement can avoid the risk of potential claims by terminated employees and allow an individual to leave your employ satisfied and uncritical. If finances are tight, you can offer non-monetary benefits such as agreeing to not contest the individual’s claim to unemployment or providing a mutually acceptable letter of recommendation outlining an individual’s positive traits and characteristics (even if the employee was ultimately let go for performance issues).

If you have been let-go by your employer, and you receive a severance offer, your former employer may pressure you to sign the offer immediately and even say the offer is non-negotiable. Always tell them you need to think about the situation over before signing anything. Depending on the circumstance, there are federal laws which may even require your employer to give you three weeks or up to 60 days to consider the agreement – which will give you time to weigh your options and seek outside advice. Most separation and release agreements even state that you should consult with an attorney and have the attorney review the release of rights prior to signing it.

An experienced employment lawyer can help you decide whether the severance package you were offered is fair considering the parameters of your employment and negotiate better terms if those offered are not reasonable or sufficient. In particular, if you are entitled to any commissions, it is imperative you make certain you are receiving all that you may be entitled to. Even if the employer is going bankrupt or being acquired, employers are surprisingly generous in those types of economic circumstances and your severance package can be enhanced through creative benefits that cost little or nothing for them to provide.

At Harrison Barnes PLC, the attorneys are proud of their work and of their contributions to their clients’ successes. A commitment to serving the client’s needs best while focusing on high quality of work has made this law firm among the preferred choice for employment law disputes. “Facing a great opportunity or a major crisis, you need to trust the experience, creativity, and dedication we provide. We are proud to be lawyers,” Harrison Barnes.

About Harrison Barnes PLC

Attorneys at Harrison Barnes PLC specialize in the negotiation of severance agreements for employees at all levels as well as employers. Harrison Barnes PLC is a Malibu-based law firm founded in 2000 by Harrison Barnes. The firm focuses on providing top quality representation to the Malibu community and has won millions of dollars for its clients over the last decade. Its attorneys have a large amount of experience in employment law, as well as First Amendment law, real estate transactions and litigation, bankruptcy, divorce and family law and criminal law. You can get more details on Harrison Barnes PLC by calling 310.598.1719 or visiting

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Michael Parker
since: 04/2012
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Harrison Barnes PLC
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