This article summarizes the extra protections provided to employees age 40 and over, and outlines why one-size-fits-all severance and release agreements just don’t work.
For an employee who is 40 years old or older, the detailed, employee-friendly provisions contained in the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act ("OWBPA") apply.
CONCLUSION APPENDIX A: Employee Checklist: What to Do When Your Employer Offers You a Severance Agreement APPENDIX B: Sample Waiver and General Release: Group Layoffs of Employees Age 40 and Over - Employee reductions and terminations have been an unfortunate result of the current economic downturn.
To minimize the risk of potential litigation, many employers offer departing employees money or benefits in exchange for a release (or “waiver”) of liability for all claims connected with the employment relationship, including discrimination claims under the civil rights laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Equal Pay Act (EPA).
The payments and promises set forth in this Agreement are in full satisfaction of all accrued hourly wages, termination benefits, or other compensation to which you may be entitled by virtue of your work with the Company or your separation from the Company.
To the fullest extent permitted by law, you hereby release and waive any other claims you may have against the Company and its owners, agents, officers, shareholders, employees, directors, attorneys, subscribers, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors and assigns (collectively “Releasees”), whether known or not known, including, without limitation, claims under any employment laws, including, but not limited to, claims of unlawful discharge, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, violation of public policy, defamation, physical injury, emotional distress, claims for additional compensation or benefits arising out of your employment or your separation of employment, claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and any other laws and/or regulations relating to employment or employment discrimination, including, without limitation, claims based on age or under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, and/or claims based on disability or under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While it is common for senior-level executives to negotiate severance provisions when initially hired, other employees typically are offered severance agreements and asked to sign a waiver at the time of termination.
When presented with a severance agreement, many employees wonder: Is this legal? This document answers questions that you may have if you are offered a severance agreement in exchange for a waiver of your actual or potential discrimination claims.
You will not accrue any additional vacation following your Employment Separation Date.
Your receipt of the benefits described below is conditioned upon your accepting, and abiding by, the terms of this Agreement.
Your last day of employment will be [Separation Date], referred to as your "Employment Separation Date." Unless otherwise noted below, your pay and benefits will cease as of your Employment Separation Date.
Visit Indeed If you decide to provide severance pay, it should always be conditional upon the employee signing a severance agreement, which is what this article is about.
Below is a severance agreement template that you can customize for your small business and for the specific termination situation you are facing.