In Ohio, unless you’ve negotiated an individual employment contract that includes provisions to pay severance benefits, there is no obligation on the employer’s part to remit a separation payment when the employment relationship ends.
What drives a settlement when one’s job ends? Two things principally: Guilt and apprehension.
The guiltier an employer feels, the more likely a severance offer will be made and the more likely the terms of your transition will be better. And the more concerned the employer is that a terminated employee may have a case if he or she brings a claim for wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, or fraud, the better the separation terms likely will be.
Your severance offer cannot be analyzed in a vacuum. It must be considered in the context of the claims that your employer wants you to release in exchange for the separation payment. And it is important that your severance terms are coordinated with your other rights and benefits. These would include:
David Worhatch has negotiated over a thousand separation agreements, both as part of an employer’s in-house management team and, since 1989, as an advocate looking after the interests of the employee. He understands what motivates an employer to offer a separation benefit, what might impel an employer to improve on its original offer, what the dismissed employee needs to do (both before and after discharge) to persuade his or her employer to do better, and how to go about getting the best deal.
A growing trend is that clients will call the Law Offices of S. David Worhatch to ask for help with developing a strategy to leave their employers under transition terms that obligate the employer to pay severance. Such clients take control of their career plans before the employer takes the lead. Sometimes, such advice takes the form of negotiating a contract assuring the employer of the services of the client for a predetermined transition period. Other times, the advice involves building a case and either threatening or commencing an action against the employer for a settlement. David Worhatch has used both strategies to benefit his clients.