When an employer offers severance pay to a terminated employee, it usually requires the employee to sign a separation agreement as a condition for receiving the payment. Separation agreements normally contain an unconditional release of any and all legal claims the employee has or may have against the employer, including potential discrimination claims, overtime claims and contractual claims. Restrictions on the employee’s post-separation conduct, such as confidentiality agreements and non-disparagement clauses, are almost always included, as well.
Before signing your rights away, it makes sense to consult an attorney who is well versed in New York employment law. The rights you will be waiving by signing a separation agreement might be more valuable than the severance pay you are being offered. Even when that is not the case, there may be language that you should ask your employer to add to the agreement before you sign it, so that your interests – and not just employer’s interests– will be protected, too.
Lichten & Bright, P.C.’s experienced New York employment lawyers can answer your questions about a separation agreement your employer asks you to sign. We can suggest changes to the one-sided language these agreements usually contain and help you try to negotiate better terms.
We also advise employees regarding employment contracts, both before they are signed and after they have been signed. And we represent and defend employees who are sued or threatened with legal action by former employers who accuse them of violating a non-compete or non-disclosure agreement. If you need help with an employment or separation agreement, or a non-compete agreement, contact our NYC employment lawyers to schedule a consultation.