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Severance Packages: What You Deserve and Your Company’s Obligation to Pay

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2014 | Firm News

“The idea of having a steady job is appealing.”
Robin Williams

Severance Packages

severance package from your employer can help keep you afloat financially as you look for another job, however, you must understand what a severance package is as well as what the average severance package is worth. Knowing this will make sure you are being compensated fairly. During hard economic times, a severance package can be a cushy buffer in case your company downsizes. It is imperative you know how to negotiate a reasonable and fair severance package as well as the conditions of your severance in order to decide whether severance is a good option for you.

Am I Legally Entitled to a Severance Package When I Am Laid Off?

Not necessarily. There is no requirement that your employer provide you with a severance package of any king. While an employer must provide unemployment compensation as a benefit, they are not legally obligated to give you any sort of severance pay.

How Much Can I Expect from a Typical Severance Package?

There is no set amount to what may be offered through a severance package. If you are an hourly employee, it is unlikely that you will be offered anything at all. A general guide for severance packages is one week of your salary for every year of service to the company. Executives often request a month of salary for every year of service. When negotiating a severance package with your company, it’s a good idea to know the value of your service to the company. Use that to increase your chances at getting a great severance package.

By Accepting a Severance Package, Am I Giving Up Any Other Rights?

Most likely, yes. Severance packages are usually offered to employees in exchange for an agreement to forfeit any legal claims against the company. Consult a qualified attorney to balance the difference between your legal claims and what the company is offering in your package.


If you are an employee who needs sound advice and vigorous representation for an employment opportunity or a legal dispute, call Goldman & Ehrlich at 312-332-6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Consider this: a typical workplace. Conference calls, meetings, production deadlines, coffee breaks, and casual Fridays typically come to mind as part of the daily work routine, however, when it comes to wearing religious garb in the office, prayer breaks or other accommodations associated with religion, we’ve got a bit of a different story on our hands.

Religious Discrimination in America

America is built on an individual’s right and obligation to express himself or herself freely, as stated in the Bill of Rights. Regardless, there is still a tension between a person’s right to believe and practice religious traditions and our culture’s right to limit and stay away from disruptive behavior. This has always, and continues to be, a source of strain in the workplace.

A new national survey released by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding makes the statement that more than one-third of workers report observing or being subjected to religious bias at their work. The survey, “What American Workers Really Think About Religion,” examines religious bias and discrimination against American workers.

An Employee’s Rights

Career promotions, opportunities and the right to gain equal pay are just the beginning of freedom from religious discrimination in the workplace. The right to wear ornaments or religious garments should be an included accommodation, as well as time off for religious observances.

An Employee’s Rights

An employer wants high productivity and morale in their workforce. There has to be a balance between an employee’s conformity and free expression that allows a worker to focus on his or her tasks at hand. Contact our Chicago religious discrimination attorneys

Call Our Chicago Discrimination Attorneys Today

Do you believe that your religious freedoms have been infringed? As an employer, have you been accused of discriminatory practices based upon the limits you set for religious expression in your workplace? The office of Goldman & Ehrlich can help. Our Chicago employment discrimination lawyers are professional trial attorneys with experience defending our clients’ civil rights complaints. We have a thorough knowledge of case law as it pertains to religious discrimination. Call us at 312-332-6733 today or contact our Chicago office online.

Pregnant and Working: Know Your Rights

Around 75 percent of the 68 million women working in the United States will become pregnant during their lives. Historically, women with pregnancy-related medical conditions and pregnant women have faced significant discrimination in the workplace. Nearly 40 years ago, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (or PDA) in an attempt to eradicate pregnancy-based injustice. Although the PDA and lawsuits filed under the PDA have helped pacify some long-standing discriminations, it is still a reality for many employees.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act bans discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, pay, as well as many other employment benefits. It not only prohibits facially discriminatory policies that preclude or limit women from performing specific jobs just because they are pregnant or fertile, but also prohibits policies or actions which impact women because they are pregnant or able to become pregnant.


If you have recently become pregnant or feel you’ve been discriminated due to pregnancy related issues, here are several questions to ask yourself and consider.

  • I just found out that I am pregnant. Can my employer fire me or reassign me?
    • The answer is no. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer with 15 or more employees can’t fire you because you’re pregnant and has to permit you to continue working as long as you are capable.
  • Can my employer fire me for filing a complaint if I believe he or she has violated the PDA?
    • Absolutely not. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on pregnancy or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation or related litigation.
  • Your employer must hold your job open the same amount of time a position would be left open for an employee who is on leave because of disability or sickness.

We Can Help

Pregnant women and nursing mothers have to be granted acceptable accommodations in the workplace and, under many circumstances, time off to attend specific and critical family situations. If your rights have been infringed, our Chicago discrimination law firm will help with attentive, personalized legal representation from experienced partner attorneys. Call Goldman & Ehrlich us at 312-332-6733 or contact our Chicago office online.