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Did Ann Curry get a fair severance package?

Anny Curry has officially been relieved of her duties as co-host on NBC's "Today" as of yesterday. Curry, who had been hosting the show beside Matt Lauer for only about a year, reportedly lost her job because the show's ratings are shrinking for the first time in 16 years.

However, Curry was only one year into a three-year $30 million contract. Of course, we do not know all of the detail's of Curry's contract. Here in New Jersey, when someone's employer is not holding up its end of an employment contract, it is wise to involve an employment law attorney.

Curry reportedly left the show with $10 million in severance. While this sounds like a lot of money, it is still $10 million less than what she would have been paid had she been able to finish out her contract on "Today."

Curry was not completely fired by the network, though. She will take a position as an international and national news correspondent, and she also may do some on-location news anchor work for "Today." It is not clear what type of contract she entered into for this job, but it was clear on the show Thursday that she was not happy about leaving that job.

When someone under an employment contract is being asked to move into a lower job position or leave the company entirely, there are several legal issues that need to be addressed. If the person stays and takes a demotion, does the company owe him or her any severance pay? Would he or she be better off looking for work elsewhere and is the demotion justified?

If the person is going to leave the company entirely, it is very important to ensure that any non-compete or confidentiality agreements do not have a negative effect on his or her career prospects. It is also important to make sure that the employer will not be able to speak negatively about the employee's time at the company or departure in a way that would damage his or her career.

These are just a few of the legal issues that must be addressed when an employer attempts to end or change an employee's contract.

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

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