Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

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GuestPoasterizing

Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by GuestPoasterizing » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:24 pm

When you are let go, and the firm is willing you pay you a 3-month severance up front to go away, do they normally make you sign anything (like a non-disclosure/non-disparagement agreement)? I will be getting mine soon and want to know what the standard practice is.

Also would they make me waive any claims? (I really believe I am being let go for a demonstrably discriminatory reason) It's not that I am planning on suing my firm, but I don't want to waive that unless they want to pay for it.

BostonRob
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by BostonRob » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:35 pm

Obviously, not offering any legal advice or anything but aren't discrimination claims kind of hard to make, especially if they did their paper trail of bad review -> out? Did someone direct a slur at you? Also if you plan to pursue other firms, playing ball by signing the severance agreement? Of course I haven't experienced whatever you did, so if it's worth making a claim in your eyes then that's your call.

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notachicken
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by notachicken » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:11 pm

they're going to make you sign a release of claims

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Pleasy E
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:26 pm

yes a severance agreement will almost always include a general release. That’s kind of the point.

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Pleasy E
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:29 pm

BostonRob wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:35 pm
Obviously, not offering any legal advice or anything but aren't discrimination claims kind of hard to make, especially if they did their paper trail of bad review -> out? Did someone direct a slur at you? Also if you plan to pursue other firms, playing ball by signing the severance agreement? Of course I haven't experienced whatever you did, so if it's worth making a claim in your eyes then that's your call.
This depends a lot on jurisdiction and a lot of other things. And just because someone can’t prove up their claim doesn’t mean they don’t file it.

OpPoaster

Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by OpPoaster » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:48 am

Op here. Do firms ever increase severance? I want to ask for 3 more months and phrase it as how the untimely termination has screwed up my budget and plans, instead of threatening to sue. (I.e., I had planned on taking a pregnancy leave by notifying HR, and am being terminated 1 month after the notice/a few days before Xmas eve. Screwed up the holiday plans and budgeting for the pregnancy etc. I would not be eligible for a leave at a new firm). There are more suspicious facts but that's besides the point. I just feel extra annoyed because I had other jobs lined up but decided to stay because when I asked my shitty boss assured me there was more work ahead in 2020, implying I wouldn't be fired. I stayed because I earned my right to the leave benefit.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:48 pm

OpPoaster wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:48 am
Op here. Do firms ever increase severance? I want to ask for 3 more months and phrase it as how the untimely termination has screwed up my budget and plans, instead of threatening to sue. (I.e., I had planned on taking a pregnancy leave by notifying HR, and am being terminated 1 month after the notice/a few days before Xmas eve. Screwed up the holiday plans and budgeting for the pregnancy etc. I would not be eligible for a leave at a new firm). There are more suspicious facts but that's besides the point. I just feel extra annoyed because I had other jobs lined up but decided to stay because when I asked my shitty boss assured me there was more work ahead in 2020, implying I wouldn't be fired. I stayed because I earned my right to the leave benefit.
Sounds pretty discriminatory to me. Are you in a state with relatively plaintiff friendly courts in employment matters (i.e. California)?

Anonpoaster

Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Anonpoaster » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:44 pm

Op here. Yes Cali. I just think the timing of my firing was really weird.

dingbat

Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by dingbat » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:43 am

Anonpoaster wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:44 pm
Op here. Yes Cali. I just think the timing of my firing was really weird.
Having looked into it because I wanted to get rid of a paralegal, it's really easy to fire an pregnant person. The only stipulation is that the employer has a reason that is not pregnancy related.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:14 pm

dingbat wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:43 am
Anonpoaster wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:44 pm
Op here. Yes Cali. I just think the timing of my firing was really weird.
Having looked into it because I wanted to get rid of a paralegal, it's really easy to fire an pregnant person. The only stipulation is that the employer has a reason that is not pregnancy related.
What? Shut up.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by dingbat » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:30 pm

Pleasy E wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:14 pm
dingbat wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:43 am
Anonpoaster wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:44 pm
Op here. Yes Cali. I just think the timing of my firing was really weird.
Having looked into it because I wanted to get rid of a paralegal, it's really easy to fire an pregnant person. The only stipulation is that the employer has a reason that is not pregnancy related.
What? Shut up.
seriously, as long as the firing is not pregnancy related, it's legal. It's pretty easy to come up with a justification

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beep
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by beep » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:44 pm

living up to your username

someone tell scotus that no one needs mcdonnell douglas anymore, just retire it

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:27 pm

i think that’s what we call pretext but idk, I’m just an employment defense lawyer in California

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by dingbat » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:37 pm

Pleasy E wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:27 pm
i think that’s what we call pretext but idk, I’m just an employment defense lawyer in California
Oh, I didn't mean that. In my case, I was legit gonna fire her before I found out she was pregnant.

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Pleasy E
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:40 pm

since we do not know OP’s situation we can’t say whether her firing was legal or illegal. OP, you should talk to an attorney if you’re so inclined.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by lolwat » Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:59 pm

Pleasy E wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:40 pm
since we do not know OP’s situation we can’t say whether her firing was legal or illegal. OP, you should talk to an attorney if you’re so inclined.
I agree with talking to an attorney if OP is thinking of going down this route. I would say some caution might be warranted, not opining on the merits of any potential lawsuit at all given that we know next to nothing about this, but more in the sense that lawsuits against biglaw have a way of going public (and going public really quickly), so OP might consider whether she wants to be in the spotlight here. As someone who would prefer to get something out of this type of shitty situation without going through too much pain, I'd personally consider negotiating for more severance and more months on the firm's website while trying to find another job, perhaps not in a threatening manner, but just, you know, hinting that the timing of the firing is pretty damn suspect--but that's me.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by anonyposterisop » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:33 pm

OP here. Thanks for the advice guys. To be more precise, it's protected family leave, not necessarily pregnancy. I want to change the wording a bit so as to not out myself, but it's the same protected status as pregnancy.

I am not trying to get into a lawsuit or piss off the managing partner by threatening lawsuit, unless it's really necessary. And if I do sue my firm, I am prepared to never work in this field again and find a new line of work. I am just trying to get more severance out of it because I feel like I've earned my extended paid leave, yet I was fired without a warning (no prior bad reviews etc) before the holidays. Moreover, I considered leaving on my own (had offers) because I was low on hours, but chose not to after my boss told me there would be more work for me. I know that timing of my firing is super suspect because who fires people just before Christmas? Especially after I had already notified the firm's HR of my imminent leave a month prior.

I was told I would be given a 3 month severance. I want 6 months and I am wondering if that is a reasonable ask under the circumstances. I would also appreciate how I could phrase it professionally without threatening lawsuit. Thank you for the help in advance.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by ggocat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:32 am

Can you tie together your reason for requesting family leave with the need for more severance? Something about how the termination came shortly after you requested family medical leave, and your absence from work was going to be difficult enough, but the added uncertainty of not having a job to return to AFTER TAKING FEDERALLY PROTECTED FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE yada yada yada...

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Pleasy E
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by Pleasy E » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:23 pm

^

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notachicken
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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by notachicken » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:14 pm

just go through the facts / timing and tell them you think more severance is warranted under the circumstances, then ask for 9 months if you actually want 6. worst case they'll say no, take it or leave the 3 months. i guess they could pull the offer entirely, but seems unlikely.

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Re: Severance in Biglaw Require an NDA?

Post by lolwat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:42 pm

Can you tie together your reason for requesting family leave with the need for more severance? Something about how the termination came shortly after you requested family medical leave, and your absence from work was going to be difficult enough, but the added uncertainty of not having a job to return to AFTER TAKING FEDERALLY PROTECTED FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE yada yada yada...
notachicken wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:14 pm
just go through the facts / timing and tell them you think more severance is warranted under the circumstances, then ask for 9 months if you actually want 6. worst case they'll say no, take it or leave the 3 months. i guess they could pull the offer entirely, but seems unlikely.
Yeah, the above, basically. I can't say whether or how likely they are to pull the offer entirely, so I suppose that's an unknown risk. But otherwise, if you just go through the facts and timeline and then ask for more severance, you're phrasing it professionally without threatening a lawsuit. The goal is really to make them think they could face a lawsuit if they don't just go ahead and give you the 6 months you're asking for (a relatively small ask compared to the costs of defending a lawsuit), because they're certainly not going to just give it to you out of the kindness of their hearts after firing you, but you're not threatening anything if you approach it this way.

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