The Purpose of a Separation Agreement
Separation agreements are contracts that define the relationship between an employer and an individual who is soon to be a former employee. A separation agreement can be used to protect a company from future problems that could potentially be caused by such an employee who is leaving the company, whether or not the separation is of the employee’s own accord. Such an agreement can be used for a variety of reasons; it can seek to prevent the ex-employee from suing the company, filing a regulatory complaint, or taking trade information with them and competing with the firm.
In exchange for an employee signing a separation agreement, pay beyond the usual compensation is usually issued, also known as severance pay. While severance pay is occasionally a considered to be merely a gift to help reward a departing employee after a long and fruitful employment relationship, that situation generally only arises when there is a separation with no need for a separation agreement. When a separation agreement does exist between the parties, the payment is often used as an inducement to sign or as consideration that serves to validate the separation contract.
Particularly when employers and employees are considering litigation upon termination of the employment relationship, it is important to be careful in constructing and signing such agreements. Both parties want to ensure that their interests and their liability are fully covered, and that their relationship with their former employer or employee will not be problematic in the future. If your company is considering the use of a separation agreement or you as an individual have been requested to participate in such an agreement, consult with a Portland employment lawyer. An experienced legal professional can work to protect your rights and guide the situation to be addressed in alignment with your best interests.
As an employer, your attorney may ask you to outline your reasons for considering a separation agreement. Depending on the type of employment contract used, or whether the employee is a unionized worker, there might be different requirements for how to handle the termination procedure. It is also essential for employers to make sure that they abide by their own internal policies for how to conduct a termination. In this way, your legal counsel can draft an agreement which specifically protects against potential consequences. An experienced attorney can also include clauses which provide comprehensive protection against repercussions you may not have predicted. An attorney can also advise as to how best to approach this situation with the employee and help to determine an appropriate severance amount, taking all factors into account.
Employment Attorney Serving Oregon
At HKM Employment Attorneys, we not only represent companies but also individual employees. If you have been asked to sign a separation agreement, we can review the agreement to ensure you are being treated fairly and are not signing away vital rights and placing yourself at a disadvantage. If the terms are found to be unacceptable, we can help you negotiate toward a satisfactory resolution. If no separation agreement or severance pay have been offered, we can help you seek them to provide you with greater financial security following the conclusion of your employment.
Contact a Portland separation agreement attorney for help with all matters relating to separation agreements.