When you are terminated from your job, your employer may ask you to sign a separation agreement. Generally, this is an employment contract that states both you and the employer have come to an amicable agreement regarding the end of your working relationship.
In a perfect situation, a separation or severance agreement should be fair to both you and your employer, whether you were working as a sole proprietor or for a PLLC. In a perfect situation, you should get proper employee counseling. However, in reality, some severance agreements favor the employer more than the employee.
Rights Waived When You Sign a Separation Agreement
Many employers use separation agreements to waiver their employees’ rights to sue them. In exchange, the employees receive a severance package that may include money and other benefits.
It is important to note that an employer can give you a severance package without requiring you to sign a separation agreement. However, where a separation agreement is part of your termination, it is often accompanied by a severance package.
Once you sign the separation agreement and agree to receive severance pay, you waive your rights to make any claims against your employer. The claims may include:
- Workers’ compensation claims
- Employment law claims
- Employment discrimination claims
- Any interest, costs, and attorney fees
- As an employee, you should be cautious when signing a separation agreement, especially if you plan to sue the employer for discrimination as provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
You should also visit a law office in Phoenix, whose practice areas include employment law, if you are offered a separation agreement but intend to be a whistleblower or have recently made harassment allegations against your employer.
Terms of a Separation Agreement
- A separation agreement provides the conditions agreed upon by both parties. Such conditions may include:
- Separation details such as the reason for your termination
- The details of the severance package: Consider whether what you are being offered is worth giving up your legal claims against the firm. Check the firm’s employee handbooks for procedures related to severance pay and termination.
- Benefits and delivery method: Some companies offer cash benefits, while others also include additional benefits. The agreement should indicate the specific benefits you will get and how you’ll get them.
- Non-compete provisions: You may also be required to sign a separation agreement that prohibits you from being employed or sharing business information with a competitor. In such a case, the employer may include a non-compete clause in the agreement. This clause is meant to safeguard the confidentiality of the firm information. However, it may also limit your ability to land a new job if the restriction period is too long. When a non-compete clause is included in your separation agreement, seek the legal services of employment lawyers. This is because some employers may try to add restrictive covenants in the severance agreement. An attorney will help to limit the scope and time of such restrictions.
Get Help from an Employment Law Attorney in Phoenix
If you have to sign a separation agreement and reside in Scottsdale, Peoria, Chandler, Tempe or any other area in Maricopa County, an employment law attorney can help you. For example, the attorney will advise you whether it is worth releasing your rights to bring a claim against your employer.
Plus, an attorney will help you to determine if you are in a position to negotiate better severance pay. Finally, an attorney will help you decide if you can sue for wrongful termination in per labor law or federal laws. Contact the law firm of HKM Employment Attorneys for a consultation on how to sort out legal issues surrounding separation agreements.