Severance agreements are sometimes written in the form of letters to employees. This is sometimes called termination letter, and it contains all the same details you will find in the standard compensation agreement. The extent of the claims released must be carefully monitored for compliance with existing national and federal laws. In most cases, employers want the release to be drafted as widely as possible and cover all known or unknown claims from the “beginning of time” to the date the agreement is executed. Although release as broad as possible is generally desirable, some claims cannot be quashed in an unlocking agreement – and it may be against the law to request the waiver of such claims. For example: the 8th Court of Appeals (which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) recently rescinded a waiver agreement because it was confused for its employee. As the court said, the OWBPA requires that an authorization be drafted in a clear and unequivocal manner – not legally! In this case, the employee tried to get clarification from the employer`s company lawyer on two seemingly contradictory provisions – the release and the federal state not to sue. However, the lawyer was “not comfortable” and provided clarity. Thus, the court quashed the publication and stated: “[i]t seems to be axiomatic that an agreement is not written in a way that is calculated.” In light of this decision, employers should carefully consider whether their severance and release agreements should continue to include the Confederation known for not taking legal action. Rights under the Employment Age Discrimination Act (“ADEA”) may be waived in a release agreement, but the release agreement must meet all requirements of the Seniors Protection Act (“OWBPA”).
Unfortunately, OWBPA violations remain some of the most common errors made by employers in the development of severance agreements. Redundancy and release agreements are a valuable opportunity for employers to avoid costly litigation if agreements are properly developed. To avoid unpleasant challenges, employers should update their agreements to ensure that they comply with all applicable national and federal laws. The national and federal laws governing unlocking agreements are constantly evolving. Indeed, a broad debate on the many national and federal laws on the applicability of publications, which can vary considerably from state to state, is far outside the scope of this article. As time has passed, employers are well advised to continue to consult with labour and labour advisors to identify important legislative changes and avoid outdated standard agreements in the use of unlocking and unlocking agreements. Please feel free to contact the company with questions regarding this article or severance and release agreements. A severance package for workers over the age of 40 must contain information on the Employment Age Discrimination Act, which protects workers over the age of 40 from age discrimination. If you use a model for workers over 40, make sure that the layoff is clearly related to their age. Practical tip: Severance pay or plans that require severance pay should also require the former employee to sign an unblocking contract in exchange for severance pay.