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Severence Coercion South Carolina

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  • Severence Coercion South Carolina

    I was employed by this company for 1 year and 9 months. We recently had some consultants come in that I participated in a focus group with. Several weeks after that I was pulled into the office and told that I was being terminated for "insubordination", however I was offered a severence package. Initially they told me that I had to sign and accept the package immediately and then when I refused they said, ok you can take it home but it needs to be returned in 2 days. After reading through the severence package it stated that I had 21 days to accept it before it expired. Is it illegal for them to try and coerce me into signing the package? Also, just a little background on my employment there. I had stellar performance evals and did not have any problem with my superiors until a new department manager was hired about 8 months ago. We did not get along and after making several complaints about him to HR is when I was terminated. Should I see an attorney?

  • #2
    I hate to say it, but being an at will state for employment, they don't even have to offer you a reason for firing you, nor do they have to offer you a severance package. Chances are, they had to make a choice between you and the new manager, and they did that, but they are feeling bad about it, so they are offering you this severence package. I would take it. I do have to ask though, is there a bonified contract, or are you union, which would make it to where they can only fire you for certain things, which you have not done? If that is the case, it would be a different story. If it says you have 21 days to accept, then you have 21 days to decide, but there may be small print there that we are not aware of, and since we can not see the document, it is hard to comment any further on it.

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    • #3
      no contract or union....thanks for your help. Now I believe the law in SC states they have until the next pay day (not to exceed 30 days) to pay me earned wages. Do you know if that is correct and does that include any bonuses that I have earned?

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      • #4
        SC - employees must receive their final paycheck within 48 hrs. of the time of separation or the next regularly scheduled payday, which may not exceed 30 days. I would assume that would include any bonuses you have earned.

        `
        Last edited by Betty3; 12-09-2007, 10:48 PM.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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        • #5
          Is it illegal for them to try and coerce me into signing the package? No but it might have invalidated the waiver if they had coerced you into signing it on the spot. It certainly would have invalidated the ADEA waiver (age discrimination); the ADEA requires that employees have 21 days in which to decide whether to sign and another 7 days to revoke their signature.

          You and the new manager not getting along is a valid reason to terminate your employment. They don't have to offer you severance at all and for those employers who elect to do so, it's standard procedure these days to require the employee to sign a waiver in exchange. Nothing in your post suggests anything prohibited has taken place but of course you're free to see an attorney if you wish to.

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