Also referred to as a release of claims, a termination agreement, or a severance agreement, a separation agreement is a document that sets out the termination terms between an employer and an employee. An employer can use a separation agreement when laying off and firing employees.
Once you sign a separation agreement, you cannot sue your employer for additional severance pay or wrongful termination. The agreements outline that both parties have reached an amicable end to their employment relationship. Although the agreements are not a requirement by law, companies use them as protection against future claims by the terminated employees. Thus, it’s key to consult an Atlanta separations agreement lawyer before signing one.
Why Seek Legal Counsel?
It is important to seek legal counsel before signing a separation agreement. The agreement supersedes all other agreements, including your employment contract. The agreement outlines the conditions to which both parties agree. An employment law attorney can carefully guide you prior to signing the contract to ensure that you get what you deserve. Employee counseling can help, but not all employers have such a service.
A typical separation agreement consists of two parts. In the first part, an employee waives all claims that they may bring against an employer. The claims may include but are not limited to compensation claims, employment law claims, and attorney fees.
The second part involves a payment made to the employee by the employer in exchange for waiving the claims; the payment is different from severance pay. The separation agreement may include some additional clauses that protect the employer from lawsuits filed by the terminated employee. For instance, it may outline the exact amount of severance pay the employer intends to pay the employee. We can also understand how other agreements might affect your departure, such as non-compete agreements or other fine print.
How an Employment Law Attorney Can Help You
Your employer will require you to sign the agreement to ensure that there will be no future claims. An attorney will help you determine whether the package offered by the company is worth the release. Your attorney will also point out various terms that govern the severance package.
Your employment law attorney will examine the employee handbook and carefully consider rules and procedures relating to terminations. Your attorney will also examine your employer’s policy on various termination reasons, and evaluate the policy alongside the applicable federal law to determine if you qualify for additional payouts.
An employment law attorney will help you understand the legally binding components of the agreement. For instance, the non-disparagement prohibits you from disclosing certain information about your employer, including the termination reasons. Also, the non-compete clause prevents you from working for the competition within a specified period. You need to understand all the clauses before signing the agreement.
Work with an Atlanta Employment Law Firm
If you live or work near Atlanta, contact HKM Employment Attorneys. We’ll guide you through the process of signing a separation agreement. A good agreement should cater to the interests of both parties. The company may put its needs first. However, our employment lawyers will ensure that you only sign an agreement that protects your rights. We work with clients across Metro Atlanta, including DeKalb County, Decatur, Alpharetta, Fulton County, Cobb County, and beyond. Let our expertise of federal law and Georgia state laws put your mind at ease and guide your best interests.