Negotiating ideas

This category contains 13 posts

Can I ask the employer to pay my COBRA premiums as part of a severance package?

Yes. An employer may provide funds for premiums under a severance plan. If the employer deducts the premiums from the severance pay and pays the insurer directly, the funds are excluded from wages and are nontaxable. If the employee receives the funds and can provide supporting documentation of the payment to the insurer, the funds […]

Negotiating employment settlement agreements: The need to show both illegal conduct by the employer and actual, calculable damages like lost wages

You can’t effectively negotiate a severance agreement just by showing you lost your job. You have to provide credible evidence that the job action was illegal (e.g., discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation for whistleblowing), and that you will experience serious financial loss as a result. You have to prove both legal liability and actual, calculable damages. Each […]

What I usually say when a client asks, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”

At some point during my representation of a client when I outline their options, the client will ask, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?”  I respect how hard the decision making process is during a tumultuous time in the client’s work history.  The client may be struggling with how to respond […]

I’m the only person in my department of over 30 people whose job is being eliminated. I am the oldest female. They are giving me 60 days to find another job in the company. What should I do?

I received exactly this call from a prospective client. She is in her mid-50’s and has always received good annual reviews. Out of the blue, the company said they want to reduce headcount in her department. This is not a company wide layoff.  She is the only person being laid off. The supervisor said the […]

My presentation to the New England Corporate Counsel Association

Today, I was one of three panelists at a meeting of the New England Corporate Counsel Association (NECCA). One of the other panelists is a Commissioner with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. The third panelist is a management side attorney who conducts training and investigations. The topic was perspectives on employment law trends.  I was […]

Happy clients after 4 settlements in 2 weeks!

When it rains, it pours!  In the past 2 weeks, I negotiated significant settlements, without having to file suit, for clients who had different claims against different employers: sexual harassment, sex discrimination, illegal retaliation after the client reported financial irregularities, and disability discrimination combined with violation of the Family Medical Leave Act.  Two of the […]

My presentation at the annual National Employment Lawyers Conference

I am very proud that I was asked to be a panelist at this year’s National Employment Lawyers Conference on June 27th.  With the other panelists, we will discuss various settlement concepts.  The presentation will provide practical strategies and tips for negotiating settlements. Topics to be explored include when to initiate settlement negotiations; how to […]

Seven simple tools for employees to use when negotiating a severance agreement

Employees call me when they suspect they might be laid off, or after they are laid off. They ask, “Can I negotiate severance?”  Of course they can!  It’s a negotiation, just like buying a car or a house.  The worst they can say is no.  When possible, be proactive. Do not wait until you actually […]

What you might want to say if your employer asks if you’ve talked with a lawyer

You don’t tip your hand in poker. Why should you show your hand when you are at the beginning of a simmering dispute with your employer? I get calls from clients who want to file an internal complaint with the company about illegal behavior like discrimination, sexual harassment or financial fraud.  I recommend clients work […]

Ask yourself whether you want to fight to keep a job you no longer enjoy, or if it’s better for you to develop a strategy that will allow you to move on.

Often, I hear disturbing stories of sexual harassment, illegal discrimination, or bullying employers who haven’t paid employees their earned wages and commissions. When I ask employee clients what their goal is, here are some of the replies I hear: “I just want it to be like it used to be.”  “I just want to do my […]

Does a termination agreement with a signed general release include waiver of the employee’s claims under the Wage Act?

Yes, but only if the language in the release (1) is clearly worded and understandable to the individual employee, and (2) specifically refers to the possible rights and claims under the Wage Act that the employee is waiving. Remember: the Wage Act prohibits employers from failing to pay earned wages and commissions. For employers, this […]

FAQs About Severance Offers And Negotiating A Better Deal

Below are my answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about severance offers. It may be worth your while to meet with an employment lawyer so you can make a fully informed decision. ➢ ARE THERE ANY LAWS THAT DICTATE HOW MUCH SEVERANCE I RECEIVE? Unless you signed an employment agreement when you joined the company […]

Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it

Have you ever head this old expression? I occasionally use it when clients are understandably fretting about what the future holds. It is an expression my father used when I would pose a problem I had. After he offered his advice, I would wonder about all the possible scenarios. Dad would wisely ask, “Why don’t […]

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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