The Chicago Bar Association

At the Termination Meeting Listen, Ask Only Pertinent Questions, and be Professional

The severance agreement is generally delivered to the employee at the termination meeting. This is a meeting that the Employer has arranged and prepared for, and that the employee may very well not be expecting/ not expecting it at that moment. Also the Employer may have 2 or more people present on its behalf for this meeting (for support and as witnesses), while the Employee will be all alone.

At this meeting you should mainly be listening, and keep your talking to a minimum. If there are pertinent questions that you have you may want to ask those questions, but it will probably not serve you well to ask too many questions or be confrontational. During this meeting the Employer may very well say claimed facts and detail its claimed reason why it made the decision to terminate your employment - claimed facts and reasoning that you/ your attorney may later be able to use as admissions as well as show are faulty/ disparately applied. But if you are not listening closely (and subsequently writing detailed notes about what was said) then whatever the Employer said that may otherwise be useful for you will be lost.

Remember, anything you say at this termination meeting can and probably will be used against you either as a claimed admission or to disparage your character. The Employer has already made its decision to terminate your employment, and few if any Employers are going to change their decision. While there may be a certain satisfaction to speaking up and telling off the Employer/ telling the Employer what you really think of him/ her, from a tactical and negotiating standpoint that is not helpful - and may very well reduce/ eliminate any opportunity for you to later obtain more severance. Likewise, yelling, screaming, and threatening is not helpful, and (although in a movie it may make for an entertaining scene) this may undermine your cause: instead just be professional.

Also keep in mind that at the termination meeting (and thereafter) if you try on your own (without an attorney) to negotiate more severance - and the Employer says no - then this will likely make it more difficult for your attorney to later successfully negotiate more severance for you. So think long and hard before you speak.

Labor Day 2009Labor Day
Labor Day 2010Labor Day
Labor Day 2011Labor Day
Labor Day 2012Labor Day
Labor Day 2013Labor Day
Labor Day 2014Labor Day
Labor Day 2015Labor Day
Labor Day 2016Labor Day
Labor Day 2017Labor Day
Labor Day 2018Labor Day
Client Reviews
"I found David Porter's representation of me to be both professional and compassionate. He did a solid job of explaining my legal options and provided me with real world examples of how labor/employment law works. His support and advocacy helped me to get through a very difficult time in my professional life. I would without hesitation highly recommend him to a friend in need of a seasoned practitioner." Jack
"I can't thank you enough for dealing with the bureaucracy of the Indiana and Illinois unemployment offices. Their response to my individual communications seemed to be the default answer of "No". With your help and persistence you were able to cut through the red tape and win my Trade Adjustment Assistance, allowing me to pursue my Master's of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a good feeling to know I can call on such a great resource in trying times." Marc
"After finding myself in a terrible position with a former employer to whom my fate was at their mercy, David Porter stepped in and negotiated a settlement plan that not only kept me out of court, but also prevented any negative references or information being leaked out to possibly hinder my future growth as a professional." Mike