This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.
As the holidays and the new year approach, many businesses offer severance to certain employees as a way for both parties to make a new start for the coming year.
Employees in Virginia are “at will,” which means they can be terminated at any time for any reason and severance is not typically required. When employment ends, however, an employer may offer a severance package to an employee in exchange for the employee’s waiver of rights.
However, employers, in the absence of an agreement or severance policy, generally have no obligation to provide employees severance pay. If severance pay is offered, an employer will require the employee to sign a Severance Agreement agreeing to a number of terms.
A Severance Agreement is a contract between the employee and an employer that provides end of employment terms between the employer and the employee. Severance Agreements are often offered in termination cases, but can also be offered to employees who are laid off or who are considering retirement.
Additionally, depending on the circumstances, a Severance Agreement may be offered to an employee who resigns or is terminated. A Severance Agreement must have something of value (also referred to as consideration) to which the employee is not already entitled to be enforceable.
Employers are generally required to provide an employee time to consider the Severance Agreement before signing. For instance, an employee usually has a 21-day consideration period to accept the Severance Agreement and at least a seven-day revocation period to revoke an employer’s Severance Agreement if the employee is 40 years or older.
Severance agreements usually contain far more than just compensation terms. They can include any number of agreements. Some examples of possible terms in a Severance Agreement follow:
- Reference Information
- Financial terms, the timing of severance payments and potential tax information
- Continuation of health benefits
- Unemployment compensation benefits
- Waiver of claims against an employer (e.g. whistleblower, discrimination)
- Confidentiality (e.g. neither side will reveal the terms of the agreement)
- Non-Disparagement (e.g. neither side will say negative things about the other)
- The possibility of re-employment
- Non-competition agreements
- Preservation of trade secrets
Severance Agreements will always include a general release or waiver that prohibits the former employee from filing a lawsuit against his or her employer for wrongful termination. Before an employee signs a Severance Agreement, he or she should consult with an attorney to discuss the rights that he or she may be waiving and the terms of the Severance Agreement.
If you need assistance with a severance agreement or other employment matter, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook.
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So you want to make wine? Walk through a day of winemaking in The Nose That Knows.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
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Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above. In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?
All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).
When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM.
Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.
Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!
Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm
Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker