Severance Packages In Virginia

Unless you have a contract or work inside Montana, you likely have an at-will employment relationship with your employer. An employer can terminate or alter your employment relationship as they choose as long as they don’t do so illegally. For example, they cannot fire someone because they filed a workers’ compensation claim under an at-will employment arrangement.

Some of the unease that this may cause is offset by the idea that you will receive a severance package if fired. Severance packages may include continuing your pay and benefits for a designated period. Some may even rely on this. If they are terminated, they will use their severance package to pay their bills while seeking new employment. Anyone in this position must understand that no laws require your employer to pay you severance. 

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that applies to workers (full and part-time) in both the public (government) and private sectors. It establishes:

  • Overtime pay
  • Child labor standards
  • The amount of minimum wage 

The FLSA requires your employer to pay you up until the day you leave, but it does not specify anything beyond that. There are, however, circumstances in which a severance will be required. 

When Severance Is Required 

To be clear, there are no laws here in Virginia that force your employer to pay you severance. There are exceptions to this. You may have been hired under a contract that states explicitly that the employee would get a severance package upon leaving the company. However, no hard rule says this. Most of the severance packages that are given were when the employee wasn’t fired-for-cause. 

Another scenario in which employees could be entitled to severance is if there is a massive layoff of 100 or more employees and they were not given at least 60 days’ notice. This is required because of the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act). If the company does not give the required 60-day notice, then the employees could receive 60 days of severance pay to compensate for it. 

Law Offices of Robert Dawson 

Employees will likely have to sign a severance agreement before receiving any compensation. The agreement outlines everything from how the money will be paid, non-disparagement clauses (i.e., you won’t talk poorly about the company), and possibly non-compete agreements. There are multiple things that a severance agreement can include or intentionally omit, and employees can have legal representation to help them negotiate the terms of a service agreement. Contact the Law Offices of Robert Dawson to schedule a consultation to discuss your employment law concerns.

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Law Office of Robert Dawson

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