Severance agreements are legal contracts between an employee and an employer that specify the terms of a termination such as in the case of a layoff. The agreement could also be referred to as a termination or separation agreement, along with an addendum not to sue and a release. When you are presented with a severance agreement, the Law Offices of Kell A. Simon recommends the following:
Review And Understand All Contract Terms And Documents
It is critical that every employee thoroughly understands the contract terms and all documents that make up the contract. They should be clear and specific. In particular, for employees 40 or over, the law requires that the contract be written in an understandable manner. This generally means that it should not contain long, complex sentences or technical jargon. If it is the least bit confusing, contact a lawyer to seek advice. Not doing so could jeopardize your ability to negotiate the employment termination properly.
Usually there is a deadline for accepting or declining any agreement but it needs to be reasonable. Employees 40 or over are required to receive at least 21 days to review the agreement. During that time, it is in every employee’s best interest to have the agreement reviewed by a qualified employment law attorney.
Employers placing an unreasonable sense of urgency on signing the documents or imposing a lack of time are a red flag. An employer trying to rush a decision may be attempting to deceive you. Fair employers understand that it is not possible to review or make a decision concerning such an important document as a severance agreement without adequate time.
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