How can I receive severance payment from my former company after being let-go from my job without prior notice?

UPDATED: Jul 5, 2017

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How can I receive severance payment from my former company after being let-go from my job without prior notice?

I was in a project management position earning 140k in salary. I was there for just under 2 years. I’m 65 years old.

Asked on July 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can't get severance from them unless:
1) They voluntarily choose to offer you severance--there is NO legal requirement to pay employees severance when they are terminated. Usually, severance is in exchange for signing some sort of "separation and release" agreement (SRA) in which you agree to one or more of the following: i) to not compete; ii) to give up any possible legal claims you might have--though most times, you do not have any valid ones; or iii) maintain business secrets or confidences. If they don't care about you agreeing to any of those, there is no reason for them to offer you severance.
2) You had a written employment contract which guaranted you severance: if you did, you can enforce its terms, including, if necessary, in court with a "breach of contract" lawsuit.
Otherwise, you can't get severance--severance for long-term employees is common, but not required.
However, if you are 65 and you believe that you were terminated because of your age--and more importantly, as a practical matter, believe that there is evidence that this is why you were terminated--you may be able to file an age discrimination claim with the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency. 

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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