Should You Accept a Severance Package? By Gregory Thyberg on February 18, 2019

Looking over an employment contractLosing a job can pose a number of challenges, though some companies offer departing employees severance packages. These can be extremely helpful when leaving one job and transitioning to another company, but they do come with some strings attached. That’s why it’s so important to speak with the Sacramento, CA employment law and severance package attorneys of ThybergLaw.

Gregory A. Thyberg and his team would like to consider some of the basics about severance packages and whether or not you should accept them. We can help you make the right decision for your career and your family.

How Severance Packages Work

A severance package is a combination of pay and benefits that are offered to an employee upon leaving a company. Severance packages could include a temporary continuation of benefits, bonuses, stock options, and even assistance with future job placement.

Severance packages are not required by California state law. Keep in mind that sometimes severance packages may be offered as a means of preventing a lawsuit by an employee regarding the circumstances of the termination.

Signing a Release for Your Severance

In order to receive a severance package, employers will often have former employees sign a severance agreement/release. As we alluded to just a moment ago, signing a severance agreement will prevent an employee from seeking legal action against their former employer. If the release is not signed, a former employee is not eligible to receive their severance package.

Am I Required to Accept a Severance Package?

No. You do not have to accept your severance package and you do not have to feel pressured into signing a release.

You should know that if you do not accept your severance package or sign the release, you are not legally obligated to receive any severance. Since there are no state laws mandating severance packages, companies may decide to make leverage packages only available to employees who sign a release.

Can I Negotiate My Severance Package?


If your termination was the result of workplace discrimination, disability, whistleblowing, employer retaliation, or other possible violations of your legal protections as a worker, you can attempt to leverage these issues into getting a better severance package.

The negotiation process can be contentious, and unless you know what you’re trying to negotiate for and what strategies to consider, the attempted dealmaking could backfire. It’s a good idea to take time considering what’s in the package as well as why you were let go from your job.

When Should I Speak with an Employment Lawyer?

If you have any questions about severance packages, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer. An employment law attorney can weigh your package against the potential to seek legal action. Your lawyer can also offer some insight on how to negotiate a better package overall.

Essentially, you should consider speaking with a lawyer if you are in doubt or confused about your options. We can offer our insight and help you do what is best given your circumstances.

Contact the Attorneys at Our Firm

For more information about your legal rights and options regarding severance packages, layoffs, and termination, be sure to contact an experienced employment law attorney. The legal team at ThybergLaw is here to help. You can reach our office by phone at (916) 204-9173.

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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