August 1st Tip of the Week

Whether you are terminating a “problem” employee who may be a litigation risk, or you choose to voluntarily pay severance to an employee as a thank you for their service, employers may be wise to present the departing employee with a separation and release of claims agreement.  However, just getting the employee’s signature on a hastily drafted agreement may not be sufficient.  A federal court in Pennsylvania recently found that there are 7 factors that make a separation agreement more likely to be upheld should an employee challenge the legitimacy of the document.  The factors are: clear and specific release language, length of time employee has to deliberate on the agreement, employee’s knowledge of legal rights at execution, employee was encouraged to seek advice of legal counsel, employee was allowed the opportunity to negotiate terms, the employee received appropriate consideration in exchange for signing, and the existence of an integration clause stating the separation agreement is the full agreement between the parties.  If your separation agreements tick all of these boxes, you are in good shape.  If you are worried you might be missing the mark, our attorneys at myHRcounsel can help you draft legally compliant and defensible separation agreements.  Contact us today!