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Best strategy to negotiate severance with a company after unlawful termination?

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Tina J., Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Illinois
    I was terminated unlawfully by a big company after raising complaints to HR. And I was terminated after months. Now via EEOC mediation, we are negotiating with them on a compensation claim:

    We initially claimed 80K + some of the missed bonuses...they countered 20K
    We decreased to 65K + missed bonuses...they countered 30K
    We decreased to 60K only...they countered 33K
    and now waiting for me...

    Now, what is the best strategy for my next number? What is your recommendation?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I am assuming that "we" means you and your attorney. My suggestion is to listen to your attorney.
     
    justblue likes this.
  3. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm actually doing it myself, via EEOC mediation. No attorney involved.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I'm curious, do you normally refer to yourself using the "third person plural" WE?

    The back and forth you recite will soon come to an end.

    How do I know, I've negotiated many deals during my lifetime.

    At some point, the other party will simply say, "Sue me, I'm done."

    If the other party is at 33K, you might want to respond by asking for 40K or 45K.

    My senses tell me the other party wants to stay south of 50K, maybe just 40K.

    If you look at the back and forth, you're giving much more than the other party.

    That shows you're desperate for finances, while the company has no need to do anything for you.

    You've also shown another weakness many people expose, you're doing it pro se.

    If you're smart make a final offer, and get something, as you could end up with nothing.
     
    Red Kayak likes this.
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    That depends on how strong a case you actually have for wrongful termination and what admissible evidence you can provide to prove your actual damages. Since I know NOTHING of your case, how then could I or anyone else here tell you what the case is really worth and what might be a good settlement offer? All I can tell you is that settlements are about two sides reaching agreement, so offer a number you'd truly be satisfied with and don't cave to pressure to settle for something you'd really not be satisfied with just to get the money now.
     
    justblue, Zigner and army judge like this.
  6. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So it would be smart to make a final offer? Say let's cut it in the middle, 47K?
     
  7. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Right. Yeah now I'm looking for a good number for my end, or maybe just say cut it in the middle.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can try.

    I suspect that 47K (The income tax rate in Illinois is 4.95%, after an increase from 3.75% in 2017.) PLUS whatever the IRS will steal from you must be factored into your calculus. A bird in the hand is often easier to keep than chasing two in the bush.

    It usually works this way.
    You offer 50K, the other party offers less.
    Be careful, don't nickel and dime yourself out of thousands of dollars today, rather than in four or five years.
    If you can wait, then wait.
    The employer most certainly can wait.
    Try to get whatever you can before the offers go the other way.
    Mediation helps the little guy, as the little guy's need is far greater than the big guy.
     
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  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Who are "we"?

    No way for anyone here to assess this intelligently because, among other things, "the best strategy" depends on the merits of the case. While we know that you think your termination was illegal, we have no way of knowing if that's a reasonable legal conclusion. We also know nothing about your former employer.

    The other thing you need to keep in mind is that no one here has any stake in your case. Whether you settle for the $33k number that's on the table or $47k or any other number is of absolutely no consequence to anyone here.
     
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Did you pick 80K out of the air thinking you won the wrongful termination lottery.

    What are your REAL, dollar amount, damages?

    How much loss of income less unemployment collected?

    How much are those bonuses? Were those bonuses earned while you were employed there?

    You're playing a game of chicken with your former employer. At some point they'll stop countering and take their chances on a lawsuit. Then the offer is zero.

    And you have to reach a point where you stop lowering your demand and take a chance on a lawsuit.

    Note that you've come down 20K and they've come up only 13K.

    Nobody can teach you how to negotiate a good deal. You're going to have to agree to a number that you can live with or be willing and able to file a lawsuit.
     
    Tina J. likes this.
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    It's quite possible that the unemployment folks have (or will have) a lien against any proceeds.
     
  12. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Generally the state will recoup unemployment benefits paid only when the award includes back pay for the periods the unemployment was paid.
     
  13. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yeah I did like 5 months of pay, plus bonuses. So it was more than 80k. Assuming I was winning the case, how much is the usual number people ask?

    Also I think if I suddenly offer cit in the middle (47k), they will see how much I'm willing to go down..so this might damage the case?
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Here are two sites that might answer that question:

    Illinois (IL) wrongful termination settlements & cases | WrongfulTerminationSettlements.com

    Wrongful Termination in Illinois | Is Illinois an At Will State? | LegalMatch

    Not necessarily. Settlement negotiations are not admissible in court. If you reach a point where you will sue instead of going below that point your compromise is off the table and you can ask for even more than your original demand.

    The risk of suing is that you could lose. Right now your former employer is willing to negotiate to avoid a lawsuit and I would add that any settlement will be without any admission of wrongdoing.

    Alleging wrongdoing and proving it are two entirely different things.

    Also keep in mind that the EEOC can sue on your behalf but can also elect not to sue and leave it up to you to do so, at your cost. Has the EEOC expressed to you that it would sue on your behalf if you didn't reach a settlement?
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    You've not indicated what was "unlawful" in any of this. Just because you're sent to mediation doesn't indicate the employer was at fault. It's just a step to try to decrease the expense and burden on the administrative officers and ultimately the courts.
     
  16. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    In arbitration clauses in employment agreements neither party have to admit any fault.
     
  17. Tina J.

    Tina J. Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Btw, it's actually IDHR and not EEOC. They were going through investigation path, but I chose mediation instead. I've propose 57.5K and they responded with 36K.

    Any feedbacks or comments?
     
  18. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    I bet you could get into the 40s, keep after it.
     
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  19. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You said in your initial post:

    So which is it, the state IDHR or the EEOC that is actually doing the mediation? You've now said both agencies.

    No more than I had before because I still know nothing of your case and thus have no idea how successful you might be if the matter were to go to court. Without that it's impossible for me or anyone else here to tell you what number should be your bottom line. I suggest you see an attorney who litigates employment discrimination claims for an evaluation on that.
     
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  20. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Based on what? We know nothing about the case, nothing about the employer, nothing about what provable damages there are. Throwing out numbers in a vacuum of information is pretty much worthless; no better than blindly throwing darts at a board with numbers on it.
     

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