Severance Package Negotiations

A severance package is a set of benefits that may be provided to a terminated or laid-off employee at an employer’s discretion. Benefits may include additional salary, continued health insurance, accelerated stock vesting, outplacement services, loan forgiveness, or other financial and non-financial compensation.

While California employers are not required to provide severance to employees separating from the company, there are a number of effective strategies for successfully negotiating a separation package. Loh Legal routinely handles severance package negotiations on behalf of current and former employees.

New Hire Negotiations

Employees who have secured a job offer often have leverage to negotiate more favorable terms involving salary, benefits, equity, and other types of compensation. Bay Area employment agreements in particular should also be reviewed to ensure that they properly account for a potential merger or acquisition.

Loh Legal provides newly hired employees with assistance including a review of the terms of your employment offer, assessing your current compensation package, and providing advice on negotiating additional beneficial terms.

Warnings and Performance Reviews

An unfair performance review can cause an employee to feel frustrated, hurt, and fearful for his/her job. Oral and written warnings, Performance Improvement Plans, and other types of performance-related discipline may result in an employee being placed on probation or terminated. If you disagree with your manager’s assessment of your work, consider consulting with an employment law attorney to provide a fact-specific written rebuttal to correct the record and preserve your professional reputation.

Misconduct Investigations

Workplace investigations are typically performed after an employer has received a complaint or become aware of alleged employee misconduct. Common allegations requiring an investigation are complaints of harassment or discrimination, unlawful retaliation, misappropriation of trade secrets, conflict of interest, inappropriate workplace behavior, and theft or embezzlement.

Employees who are the subject of a workplace investigation should immediately seek outside legal counsel. Loh Legal can help protect your rights during the investigation and provide guidance at each step of the process while preserving your dignity and professional reputation.

Overtime, Meal & Rest Breaks

If you believe that your employer has not paid you all of the wages that you are legally owed, contact Loh Legal for a confidential consultation. Common wage and hour issues include unpaid overtime, failure to pay minimum wage, “independent contractor” misclassifications, missed meal and rest breaks, and failure to reimburse business expenses.

Employee v. Independent Contractor Classification

Some employers attempt to evade California wage and hour laws by incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors. Loh Legal is experienced in assessing an individual’s work situation to determine whether you are truly an “independent contractor.” Misclassification may entitle you to monetary damages including failure to pay minimum wages, unpaid overtime, missed meal and rest breaks, and more.

Wrongful Termination

In California, employees are presumed to be employed “at will.” This means that an employer may end your employment relationship at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. It is not unlawful for an employer to terminate you because of general personality conflicts or poor performance. But, if you believe that you have been terminated because you are a part of a protected class (i.e., race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, age (over 40), disability, medical condition (including pregnancy), or marital status) you should immediately seek a confidential consultation from an experienced employment attorney.

Harassment and Discrimination

California law protects employees from unlawful harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Unlawful harassment and discrimination include mistreating an individual because of his/her race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, age (over 40), disability, or medical condition (including pregnancy).

In California, companies are held responsible for unlawful harassment carried out by a supervisor. If you believe that you have been subjected to unlawful harassment or discrimination because you are a member of a protected class, contact Loh Legal for a confidential consultation.


Federal and California laws protect employees from retaliation after they report or complain about unlawful workplace conduct. This means that employers may not retaliate against you for complaining about certain issues including: unlawful workplace behavior (e.g., discrimination or harassment), false statements made to clients or customers, or the company’s failure to abide by a rule or regulation.

If you believe that you have been written up, set up to fail, disciplined, or terminated in retaliation for raising unlawful workplace conduct, contact Loh Legal for a confidential consultation.

Disability Discrimination / Failure to Accommodate / Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process

California law protects employees who have a legally recognized physical or mental disability. Legally protected disabilities include:

  • Impaired eyesight, hearing, speech
  • Chronic diseases such as hepatitis, HIV/AIDs, diabetes
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Chronic mental conditions such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and anxiety
  • Intellectual or cognitive disability
  • Specific learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia)

Disabilities do not include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania or impairment from the unlawful use of controlled substances. Employers may (but do not have to) ask for medical certification of an employee’s need for a reasonable accommodation.

The law requires an employer to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an employee applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”). California employers are also required to engage in a dialogue with a disabled employee to find ways to accommodate his/her disability in the workplace so that the employee can continue performing his/her job (called a “reasonable accommodation”). This may include:

  • Changing job duties
  • Changing work schedules (part time, remote)
  • Providing leave for medical care
  • Relocating the work area
  • Providing mechanical or electrical aids

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavorably because he/she has a disability. It is also unlawful to treat an employee less favorably because of the individual’s relationship with a person who has a disability.

If you believe that you have been subjected to disability discrimination or your employer has refused to provide you with a disability-related accommodation, contact Loh Legal for a confidential consultation.

Breach of Contract

Most employment relationships are governed by an offer letter or employment contract. These contracts set forth the expectations and terms of the employee/employer work relationship. An employer’s violation of any of the terms of such an agreement may provide a separate basis for pursuing a legal remedy and render you entitled to financial compensation.