A friend of mine was recently let go from her job of many years (she recently wrote about it in a two-part series, part one and part two). It’s been difficult watching the news and hearing about the millions of jobs lost in the last year but until one of your friends is fired, it really doesn’t sink in how weak our economy is. It’s one thing to see your 401(k) lose value, an account I can’t touch for forty years, it’s another to see one of your friends lose their job.
The first thing that came to my mind was whether or not she could negotiate a better severance package. She explained that because her employer was a non-profit, she had no legal recourse. I was surprised but upon further research, I learned that there are no laws specifically covering severance. There are laws that cover unfair termination, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws, and severance is mostly seen as a way to placate employees so they don’t consider filing a lawsuit. However, despite this, you can still negotiate a severance package.
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