What are my rights with severance pay negotiation? Posted on April 10, 2011

Hi, just been laid off and the reason they gave was my performance was below target and they believed I was not at the level they required for the future of my position. I will give you some background and the n ask some questions.

I have been at the company (small software company) 18 months and not once did anyone mention to me that my performance was unacceptable. I am a seasoned PR professional with 16 years experience gained from working for some of the world's largest companies. There was one email where my boss delivered a long rant about a presentation that was not what he wanted (despite an outside agency and I agreeing it was as we were briefed by my boss) and when I confronted him face-to-face to ask him about the email and how I can improve, he said "don't worry about that." In fact, my quarterly bonus was paid out at 88% on average during my time with some quarters at 90% and not once was poor performance raised. In 18 months I am now on my fourth boss and the goal posts and requirements moved every time. My first boss even went as far as to ask me in the job interview, "will having a six month old child impact you doing your job;" and after a major event, "well you better not have a second child between now and next year". My third boss was even involved in an internal investigation into female discrimination.

The company is looking to go IPO in the next 12 months.

All-in-all not a great experience. I am meeting with HR tomorrow to discuss severance. My questions are:

What am I entitled to? (I am thinking 12 weeks full salary)
Are there any benefits like insurance etc that I can negotiate?
Can I get outplacement services paid for?
Anything else?

I really do appreciate your help.

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