In Jürgens v. MicroGroup, for example, one employee claimed that his former employer`s alleged non-payment of severance pay as part of an agreement was contrary to the Massachusetts Wage Act. In dismissing the employer`s request to dismiss the lawsuit, a Massachusetts Superior Court stated that, consistent with Wiedmann`s Supreme Court decision, „a broader definition of `wages` is appropriate and should not be limited to the exclusion of severance pay.” However, later, in Birnbach v. Antenna Software, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled otherwise. To do so, it relied on the unprecedented decision of the Massachusetts Appeal Court in Platt v. Traber, which serves as a convincing and non-binding precedent. A termination agreement is a contract. An employee waives rights in exchange for legal consideration that goes beyond what he or she was allowed to receive as an employee (usually severance pay and other incentives) to sign the agreement. A frequent misunderstanding among workers relates to whether they are entitled to severance pay. Workers dismissed from their employment relationship are entitled by law to unpaid wages and accrued but unpaid vacation pay, but are not entitled to severance pay. Employers usually give severance pay to an employee to get an employee to waive their rights.
Overall, there are many unique legal issues that may arise when negotiating a severance package. The clear and thorough articulation of the legal exposure of your former employer in the event of illegal dismissal is essential to maximize an offer of severance pay. It is equally important to understand non-monetary concepts and, if necessary, to revise them, in particular all languages related to the current prohibitions of competition. The employer may also refuse to pay the full amount of the severance pay. In these cases, the former employee can take legal action and demand that the separation agreement be enforced and that full payment be made. According to Section 149 of the Massachusetts General Law Chapter, Section 150, the employer can be held liable for three damages – three times more than it owes. After an employer informs the worker that his or her position has been eliminated, that he or she has been fired, or that he or she is offered a generous package of severance pay to leave the company, he or she may not think about negotiating. Even if the writing is on the wall, it can be shocking if you notice that you no longer have a job. Employees can benefit from taking the time to think about accepting the departure package before agreeing to sign it. However, severance pay is a critical element of the separation agreement.
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