Once your time at a job in Washington comes to an end, your employer may request that you sign a separation agreement. These types of agreements are designed to protect the business owner from claims or lawsuits following a termination or dismissal. A lawyer who is experienced in separation agreements and employment law can review your contract and ensure your best interests are met before you sign.
The legal representatives at HKM Employment Attorneys have the knowledge needed to protect you from unfair separation agreements or severance packages.
What is a Business Separation Agreement?
Companies and employers use separation agreements to protect themselves from lawsuits after letting an employee go. The agreement will outline the terms of your dismissal, including whether or not you’re restricted from filing a lawsuit against your company, whether you’ll receive severance pay, or if there is a non-compete clause.
Depending on the details of the agreement, once signed by both parties, the employee can’t sue the company for severance pay or wrongful termination. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney review the agreement before you decide to sign it.
Can You Negotiate a Separation Agreement?
Employer separation agreements are legally enforceable, so before you sign, you should try to negotiate the terms with your employer. An attorney experienced in employment counseling can review your contract and make suggestions as to what you should push back on or request.
What Should I Ask My Employer in a Separation Agreement?
If you’re in a position to negotiate with your employer before signing the separation agreement, here are some things to consider:
Waiver of Claims
Separation agreements should clearly outline the terms and conditions guiding the employees’ right to file a claim for age discrimination, workplace harassment, wrongful termination, or other forms of discrimination that could create a hostile work environment.
A severance package or payment refers to the benefits that companies often offer to employees who are laid off or retiring. Your employer may even use it as an incentive to encourage you to sign the separation agreement. Common benefits that are included in a severance package include stock options, additional payments, or health insurance.
If your employer offers additional payments as part of the separation agreement, be sure that they indicate the exact amount you will be paid and delivery method, be that one lump sum or a structured plan.
A non-disclosure clause will outline what information you specifically should keep private, including customers’ list, company finances, or trade secrets.
Does Washington Law Require Severance Pay?
According to Washington law, employers can offer severance payment voluntarily. However, if the employer initially promised severance pay in the original employment contract, then they are responsible for upholding their word.
What Happens If I Don’t Sign a Separation Agreement?
While it isn’t mandatory for Washington employees to sign a separation agreement, most employers make it a condition for releasing severance pay. If you are entitled to severance pay because it was included in your employment contract, then they cannot legally withhold it from you.
Should I Sign a Termination Agreement?
You should only sign a termination agreement if you are confident with the contents of the document and agree with the terms within. Consulting with a lawyer can help you evaluate your demands and help you make the best decision for your interests.
Get Legal Assistance from a Bellevue Separation Agreements Lawyer
HKM Employment Attorneys is committed to helping workers in Bellevue, Seattle, and all over King County make the best decisions for their careers. Before you agree to sign anything from your employer, it’s important that you read through the contract and bring it to an attorney if you have any questions. We can break through the legalese and help you gain a better understanding of what you’re agreeing to and what your rights are in the situation.
Get started today by reaching out to us for an initial consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss the details of your case and help you establish next steps.