If you have reason to believe you are the victim of a wrongful termination, the first thing you should do is review your employee handbook and employment contract. This will give you a clear idea of the processes and procedures your employer must follow in the event of a termination.

When reviewing your contract, pay close attention to any mention of a severance package. If your contract requires your employer to pay severance as a result of your termination, discuss the details of collecting this with the HR department.

Even if your contract doesn’t mention a severance package, you can negotiate this with your employer. You can gain the upper hand by accepting a severance package in exchange for waiving your right to take legal action.

Here are some things to think about when negotiating a severance package:

  • Carefully review any offer from your employer, as opposed to accepting on the spot
  • Be sure that all terms and conditions are confirmed in writing and signed by both parties
  • Never accept the first offer, as you may be able to negotiate something better
  • Negotiate more than money, with a focus on benefits such as health insurance
  • Make sure the acceptance of a severance package doesn’t impact your ability to seek new employment

It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in negotiating a severance package or filing a claim for wrongful termination, it’s critical to understand your legal rights. There are things you should and shouldn’t do and taking all the right steps during this difficult time will put you in a position of power.