You know that scene in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and the Tin Man and Scarecrow are walking through the forest saying “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My?

Well, in today’s economic climate, employees are likely walking around their offices, nervous, scared about keeping their jobs, arm in arm, saying “Severance, unemployment, and getting fired, oh my.”

If this is not happening, it should be. You need to be aware of the consequences of signing a severance package. It should scare you.

It it says you are leaving voluntarily, taking retirement, I think there is about a 99.9% chance you will not be entitled to unemployment.

If you are fired and given a severance, that is a very different story. Same if there is a reduction in force.

If you have a severance agreement you have been asked to sign, have someone (meaning a lawyer) look at it. It may have the following language/ restrictions:

  • Release of all potential past / future claims
  • New Non-compete language
  • New Non-solicitation language
  • Waiver of certain rights, pay etc.

If you have a Virginia Severance package and need help evaluating what it says – give us a call.

I will be happy to walk arm and arm with you through the fictional forest – evaluating the Lions and Tigers and Bears. Hopefully, it will be a cowardly Lion you face, or a beneficial severance agreement.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at