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Reacting to a job loss

Suddenly losing a job may have a substantial financial and emotional impact. It is important to act quickly, or substantial benefits and rights may be loss. Negotiating effective severance agreements may be important.

Employees who are laid off and did nothing wrong may be entitled to severance pay. This is a specific amount of money paid to employees who are terminated because of business restructuring, personnel cuts or other reasons unrelated to their conduct. Obtaining a copy of the employee handbook or any employment agreement is important to determine whether there is a right to severance pay.

Employees may be able to negotiate the terms of a severance agreement to increase these payments and improve other benefits. Workers should be willing to negotiate better terms than the employer's first offer.

This may be an opportunity to seek terms such as continuing health care benefits, job placement assistance, recommendations and using job-related equipment.

A non-competition agreement may be offered in a severance agreement or already contained in an employment contract. These restrict working for a business competitor or sharing or using information gained from the employer for a time period and within a specific geographic radius.

A non-compete clause may severely restrict professional opportunities. Employees should carefully review these clauses in any contract or offer. Employees may be able to limit their effect by offering another concession to the employer.

Posting negative information about a former employer online and in social media posts can unduly complicate negotiations and job opportunities with other potential employers. Social media posts should also be reviewed to assure there is no information that may be used against the employee.

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