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Guide to Negotiating Severance Agreements

Guide to Negotiating Severance Agreements


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This guide is based on my professional experience, and you should take the following information as gold. I will synthesize technical terms, rules, laws etc., where applicable, into an easy discussion for you to follow to your own success. Countless billable hours have been reduced to this guide to achieve one outcome- to help you negotiate a fair severance agreement and get your employer to pay you severance compensation. That’s a nice goal, right? Well, I achieve these results in approximately 80% of our pre-suit cases and you can too. Once you understand my perspective and pro tips, you can make more informed decisions and financially benefit from them. Never leave any severance pay on the table. I have used these strategies over the past twenty-five years to help clients obtain more than $100 million in severance compensation, typically without filing a lawsuit.

One final note. As is the case in using any of the Employee Survival Guides ®, I need to identify one of the most important elements to negotiating severance agreements, you need to act as if you have an employment attorney representing you behind the scenes. You do not need an employment attorney at this juncture and that is the goal of using this guide. Fake it until you the day you sign your severance agreement. There is no law in this country that requires you to disclose the identity of your employment attorney to your employer.

There is no computer database or internet site to look up the name of “your attorney”- it’s privileged and the laws of every state protect against disclosure. It is your word against the employer, so feel confident in your negotiation.

If you use the information in this guide, the employer will be given the immediate impression you have an employment attorney- because who else thinks like this other than an employment attorney. Just be consistent and do not use colorful language or assert outlandish claims. Never assert statements such as “I want justice”, because that’s a red flag that you do not have an employment attorney- because I would never use a phrase like that with an employer. Keep your communications with your employer short and to the point and never ever show your emotions with the employer during the severance negotiation process. If you are consistent in your communications and use the tactics in this guide, your employer will be forced to believe you do in fact have an employment attorney behind the scenes, even if you do not have one. You are your strongest advocate, always.

Table of Contents


  1. Severance Negotiation Perspectives
  2. Employers Pay Severance Out of Fear of Getting Sued
  3. The Severance Agreement Terms Broken Down and Explained
  4. Severance Negotiation Strategies to Maximize Your Severance Payout
  5. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  6. Real Life Case Examples To Learn From
  7. Additional Resources
  8. Severance Agreement Example


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