Do I Have to Sign a Severance Agreement?

You’ve gotten bad news. Perhaps you lost your Bay Area job. Or you got “made redundant.” Or perhaps you left your job of your own volition. In any case, your employer wants you to sign a severance agreement.

What should you do? Do you have to sign? If not, what steps should you take?

The Appeal of a Severance Agreement

It doesn’t matter how your relationship with the employer terminated. The move caused uncertainty. Signing a severance agreement might appeal for a few reasons:

  • You can (possibly) collect significant money from the company;
  • You can sever ties with a company that you didn’t like – or at the very least, come to “closure” with your old employer;
  • Once the agreement is signed, it’s “one less thing to worry about.

Pressure to Sign

Is your employer pressuring you? If so, that’s a good sign to pause and wait a beat. Why might it benefit the employer to rush you into a potentially monumental decision? Why dissuade you from taking your time and speaking with a reputable Bay Area severance agreement attorney?

Are you pressuring yourself, or getting pressure from your family? It’s natural to want to “get it over with” and “move on with your life.” Take that feeling as a sign to pause and reflect.

When You Sign…

  • You may be giving up powerful rights, depending on the wording of the agreement;
  • You might accidentally abdicate your pension rights under ERISA or give up your employer’s 401(k) contribution to your retirement package;
  • Your employer may have added a non-compete provision, which can prevent you from finding new work in your field;
  • The employer may sneakily fail to release you from your duties. The release should be mutual, so that you can protect your rights;
  • The confidentiality of the severance agreement may not be mutual, meaning that your employer may be able to show the agreement to your prospective employers;
  • There could be negative implications for your insurance benefits; You may be giving up potential legal claims against your employer.

The long and short of it is this: odds are, you have not negotiated your Bay Area severance package perfectly. Fortunately, you can trust the experienced, ethical, and highly reputable team at Law Offices of Daniel Vega to make sure that your employer (or ex-employer) plays fair and treats you well.

Connect with the team at, or call 415-287-6200 today to schedule a consultation.