Severance Agreements: What NOT to Sign
When an employer makes the decision to fire or lay off an employee, it is a common practice to request that the employee sign a severance agreement. Such an agreement will normally make an offer of a package of benefits, typically including a lump sum amount for severance pay. In exchange, the employee agrees to certain conditions and also waives certain rights.
Unfortunately, severance agreements are often unfair toward the employee and contain language that is strongly in favor of the employer.
Protect Your Rights in a Severance Agreement
In some cases, the employer will deliver a severance agreement and demand that the employee sign the document by a certain deadline or face being fired without benefits. Before signing any severance agreement, you should consult an employment attorney from Chaleff Rehwald.
If you sign a severance agreement, you will almost certainly be giving up your right to pursue legal action over sexual harassment, unpaid wages, or any type of discrimination. Moreover, you may be signing your name on a non-compete agreement that would bar you from certain positions or from working for certain companies in the same industry as your current employer. Severance agreements may also include provisions that restrict the employee from disclosing proprietary information owned by the employer or even from making negative statements about the employer.
Essentially it is a payoff with the purpose of settling legal claims in advance and prohibiting the employee from doing things that might cause harm or loss to the employer in the future.
The legal jargon used in severance agreements is often complex and confusing, and it is in your best interests to let an experienced lawyer review the document. We may be able to represent you in negotiations over the agreement to pursue terms that favor your interests and provide you with sufficient compensation for the rights you may be waiving. Get started now by filling out our free case evaluation form.