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Did Ann Curry get a fair separation deal when leaving "Today"?

Many people in Greenbelt saw Ann Curry's tearful goodbye on NBC's "Today" show yesterday. Curry was only one year into a three-year $30 million contract at the time of her departure as Matt Lauer's co-host, but the network reportedly demoted her due to lackluster ratings.

Here in Maryland when someone is facing a demotion or separation from an employer, it is very wise to consult an employment law attorney about the negotiation of a severance package as well as other concerns.

In Curry's case, she reportedly left her spot on the couch next to Lauer with $10 million in her pocket. That still leaves her $10 million short of fulfilling her contract. However, the network did create a new position for her as an international and national news correspondent, and she will reportedly still do some segments with "Today." It is unclear what kind of contract she has for this new position.

Whether you are an internationally known television journalist, an executive or an average employee, there are many very important legal matters to consider when an employer asks you to leave or step down.

  • If you are leaving the company, can you negotiate a severance payment that will cover the minimum amount of time it could take you to find a new job?
  • Does the severance package include any unpaid vacation, sick leave and commission?
  • What about health insurance for you and your family?
  • If you experienced sexual harassment, discrimination or other problems additional legal claims may need to be pursued.
  • It is important to control how the employer will speak about your departure and time with the company to your references.
  • Are there any non-compete, confidentiality or other contract issues that need to be discussed?

An experienced employment law attorney will make sure that all of these factors are addressed and that you leave the company or step down on the best footing possible.

Source: The Washington Post, "Ann Curry: Today is my last day co-hosting 'Today,'" Lisa de Morales, June 28, 2012

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