The Chicago Bar Association

Write out a Bullet-Point List of the Top 5-10 Accomplishments that You had During Your Employment

Many people (non-attorneys as well as attorneys) do not know/ forget to address an employee’s accomplishments when negotiating for severance/ more severance.

While it is true that despite your accomplishments the Employer terminated your employment, it is very possible (actually it is likely) that the Employer did not fully/ sufficiently take into consideration your accomplishments when deciding what amount of severance to offer you - and accordingly, reminding the Employer of your accomplishments toward requesting more severance is an opportunity that you should not ignore.

For example, if you are a salesman, and as a result of your sales the Employer reaped $250,000.00 in profits, then if the Employer only offered you 4-weeks severance (say $4,000.00), you (or better still your attorney) may be able to successfully appeal to the Employer’s sense of right and wrong to obtain more severance for you.

Toward writing out a bullet-point list of your top 5-10 accomplishments, I suggest as follows:

  • Organize your list in order of importance, putting your biggest/ important accomplishments at the top of the list.
  • If you were employed by the Employer for a long period of time (say 10-25 or more years) that should be listed first.
  • Accomplishments that brought in revenue/ profits for the Employer are generally looked at as most important to Employers in these kind of matters.
  • Bringing in clients that will result on an ongoing basis in the future in more revenue/ profits for the Employer is also looked at as important/ of value.
  • Not having been issued any disciplines is certainly worth noting (denotes that you were not a trouble-maker - which Employers value).
  • Solid attendance shows reliability.

If you were terminated for an error/ claimed misconduct then likely will have a more difficult time getting severance/ more severance, but if under those circumstances the Employer is offering you severance then there may be a (hidden) reason on the part of the Employer for why it is being - perhaps the allegations against you are not so strong, or are exaggerated, or you have a potential discrimination claim that the Employer is concerned about - and there may be arguments that you/ your attorney can make to have you receive more severance than what the Employer arbitrarily offered.

If you did do the wrongdoing then perhaps you can show it was out-of-character for you - and contrary to your usual good character and accomplishments. This will bolster your argument for more severance (particularly if you can show that the amount of the severance is unjustly low compared to what your accomplishments were for the Company.

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