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Severance Benefits Attorney Oak Park

Employers generally are not required by law to offer severance pay, but many are motivated to do so – in an effort to protect themselves from legal liability and lawsuits. If you have been let go, fired, or laid off, your severance benefits can play a critical financial role in your future, which makes working closely with an experienced severance benefits attorney in Oak Park in your best interest. 

Illinois Law

In Illinois, your employer is not required to offer you severance benefits upon laying you off, firing you, or otherwise letting you go, except under the following circumstances:

  • Your employer is contractually obligated to do so due to either an employment policy or practice that is in place.
  • Your employer caused you to believe that you’d receive severance benefits through either a written contract, an oral assertion, notice in an employee handbook, or a history of paying severance. 

Your Employer’s Motivation

Employers generally offer severance packages in exchange for recipients relinquishing certain rights. As an employee, you’re likely to receive a monetary amount that typically equals about 1 to 4 weeks’ pay per year of employment, and that may include other benefits. In exchange, you will likely be under contractual obligation to give up rights such as the following:

  • The right to sue your employer for either known or unknown claims
  • The right to discuss the terms included in your severance benefits
  • The right to divulge any trade secrets of the company
  • The right to discuss the company in disparaging terms
  • The right to discuss what caused you to be let go

If you believe you have a claim against your employer, accepting a severance agreement can leave you with no legal recourse.


While your severance package is intended to limit your rights in exchange for the benefits provided, there are legal restrictions in place. Your employer cannot legally require you to relinquish any of the following:

  • Rights that cannot legally be released upon agreement, such as wage and hour requirements
  • Rights to payment that you’re already owed
  • Terms that don’t allow you to report specific crimes on the company’s part
  • Terms that stop you from applying for unemployment
  • Terms that require you to break the law (such as by perjuring yourself to protect the company)
  • Conditions, terms, or waivers that are so broad they interfere with your right to seek employment elsewhere

Further, your employer cannot use undue influence, cannot threaten to the point of causing duress, and cannot engage in fraud in the company’s efforts to push its severance package through. 

Don’t Delay Discussing Your Concerns with an Experienced Severance Benefits Attorney in Oak Park

Because protecting your rights – and your right to legal recourse – is critical, you shouldn’t accept severance benefits until you’ve carefully considered all the implications and legal ramifications for you (in your unique situation). The severance benefits attorneys at Bartolic Law in Oak Park are here to help, so please don’t wait to contact us for more information today.

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