Often at the conclusion of employment, an employer will ask an employee to sign what is commonly referred to as a Severance Agreement.
GIVEN A SEVERANCE AGREEMENT?
Usually, a Severance Agreement offers the employee some amount of money in exchange for waiver of the employee’s rights to bring certain legal claims against the employer. You are entitled to certain allowances for time to review the terms of the Severance Agreement with an attorney. For instance, if the employee is over age 40, he or she should be given at least twenty-one days to review the agreement and take it to a lawyer prior to signing it.
NON-COMPETE & CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS
Often employers try to sneak in a non-compete agreement at the last minute to restrict the employee’s ability to find similar employment that may be competitive. The employer may also ask for a confidentiality agreement which prohibits you from disclosing confidential company information. However, some employers take these agreements to mean that you could never work for a competitor, because inevitably you would disclose company information as part of that future employment. In effect, a confidentiality agreement can be treated as a non-compete.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE SIGNING
Most importantly, the Severance Agreement often includes a release where you give up any potential claims you may have against your employer. The claims that you have against the employer could be far more valuable than the amount of money that you receive for signing the release. The bottom line is that you should always consult an attorney before entering into a Severance Agreement with your employer.
The Green Bay, Wisconsin law firm of Wanezek & Jaekels, S.C., specializes in employment law and has reviewed numerous Severance Agreements. Our attorneys are able to provide very competent advice and guidance to persons ending employment where a Severance Agreement is involved. Please call Attorney David Daul at 920.337.8191 to discuss your Severance Agreement and the implications it may have for you.