Severance agreements offer employees who are being terminated additional money in exchange for waiving certain rights. In most cases, it is perfectly legal for employers to require departing employees to sign a severance agreement. However, employers cannot threaten to withhold wages already earned; they can only offer additional money for signing the document.
The first thing employees aged 40 and over should know about severance agreements is the protection afforded to them under the Older Workers’ Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA). The OWBPA gives these employees the legal right to take more time to review a severance agreement before signing it, putting them in a more powerful bargaining position. It is important to know that if an employer is offering you an incentive to leave the company, it may be because the employer is worried about wrongful termination or some other type of lawsuit. During the review period, you can ask a skilled employment lawyer to review your severance agreement and advise you of your rights.
Regardless of your age, all employees should know that severance agreements cannot require employees to waive their rights to file charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This applies to discrimination based on age, gender, national origin, and race, as well as whistleblowers and employees who had previously filed safety complaints.
If you are leaving your job, contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today. We review your severance agreement and determine if you were the victim of discriminatory practices. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.