Can I compel my former employer to pay me severance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I compel my former employer to pay me severance?

I was fired for taking off but I had off time to use still. The company later found that they made a mistake because I did have the time to take. After my dismissal, I immediately found another job but my former employer asked me to go back and work until they close the branch. I refused because I have another job already. Now they don’t want to give me my severance pay.

Asked on November 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In an "at will" work arrangement, a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Accordingly, unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that provides for severance or your company has a long history of paying severance pay in similar situations, you have no right to it. In other words, legally it need not be provided. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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