A severance package may be a part of your employment contract. A severance provision should describe the circumstances that allow your employer to terminate your employment. If your employer does not fire you according to the terms of the agreement, you might have a case for wrongful termination.
Inc.com explains the different provisions that a severance agreement may contain. You might find that one or more of these terms are desirable, or you may want to negotiate for different provisions if you have yet to sign your employment contract.
Firing you at will
Some employers make it clear that they can fire somebody for any reason. This is to make sure that a terminated employee cannot sue for wrongful termination. However, this does not mean your employer can violate civil rights laws by firing you. You would still have recourse if your firing was a result of discrimination or because you were a whistleblower.
Firing you because of job changes
It is possible other workers will assume your responsibilities at work as time goes on, effectively terminating your position. Your employer will probably anticipate that your job will not last and will place a constructive termination clause in your contract. This will help you understand that your workplace might reduce your job duties but will give you a severance package if you choose to work somewhere else.
Firing you for cause
If your contract states that your employer can terminate you for cause, pay special attention to this section. Your employer should describe the grounds for your termination, such as poor job performance. If you receive a termination for cause, your employer could not only fire you but may take away bonuses or other perks you would have otherwise received.
If you leave voluntarily
Finally, your severance agreement may discuss what will happen if you depart your job of your own accord. Check the contract to be sure it does not qualify your benefits on how and when you decide to leave.
Given the variety of clauses that can make up a severance agreement, you should take the appropriate amount of time to make sure the contract protects your rights.