Also known as separation agreements, severance agreements are legal documents between an employer and an employee that outline the terms of separation. In most cases, a severance agreement is drafted when a worker is terminated or laid off from their job.
The purpose of such an agreement is to determine the amount of compensation or benefits the employee will receive. If you have questions or concerns regarding your severance agreement, contact a Hackensack employment attorney at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC.
Employers agree to provide severance benefits in exchange for the worker’s agreement to never pursue legal action because of their termination. These agreements can sometimes contain additional provisions as well.
Examples of other common provisions include:
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Non-competition clauses
- Non-solicitation agreements
Legal stipulations like these are meant to protect the employer’s business interests.
Compensation, Benefits, and Releases
The terms of a severance agreement often vary depending on the circumstances of the employee’s departure. The company’s policies can also impact the terms.
Usually, these agreements will specify the amount of compensation the employee will receive and other benefits to which they are entitled. Other benefits might include the following:
- Continuation of health insurance
- Outplacement services
- A positive reference for future employers
Beyond compensation and benefits, the agreement can include special stipulations and restrictions.
Release of Claims
One of the most common components of a severance agreement is a release of claims provision. This means that the employee agrees not to file any legal claims against the employer related to their employment. Common claims against employers include:
- Claims of discrimination
- Claims of retaliation
- Claims of wrongful termination
The release of claims provision is intended to give the employer protection from potential legal action.
In addition, a severance agreement can contain a non-disclosure clause. This type of legal stipulation bars the employee from disclosing confidential information about the business or their work. These provisions are important for protecting the employer’s business secrets and confidential information.
Non-compete clauses are another common element of severance agreements. They restrict the worker from providing labor to a competitor or from starting their own competing company for a certain period of time.
Non-compete provisions are designed to keep the employee from using their knowledge and skills to help or become a competitor. They learned skills and information while they worked for the employer that could greatly help a competing business entity, and the non-compete provision prohibits them from using the information to undermine their former employer’s business.
A non-solicitation clause is also a typical component of these agreements. This type of clause prohibits the employee from petitioning the employer’s clients for a certain amount of time.
Non-solicitation components are intended to protect the employer’s relationships with clients. The clauses also prevent the former employee from poaching talent away from the company.
Enforceability of Severance Agreements
For a severance agreement to be enforceable, the employee must be given adequate time to review the terms and conditions. If they choose, they can seek legal advice from a skilled employment law attorney.
It is also essential that the employee sign the agreement voluntarily and knowingly. They must not face coercion or pressure from the employer. If you have legal questions regarding your Hackensack severance agreement, make sure to speak with a skilled attorney.
Severance agreements are legal documents that outline the terms of separation between employers and workers. Usually, this agreement includes specified compensation and benefits for the employee. However, they can also contain provisions that protect the employer’s business and financial interests.
Why should I call an attorney when faced with a severance agreement?
When you are given a severance agreement, you could benefit from consulting with an attorney who specializes in employment law. This legal document will outline the terms and conditions of your departure from your previous company. A severance agreement will also have significant legal and financial implications for your future.
A seasoned employment law attorney will review the document to ensure that the terms are fair and reasonable. They will assess the contract carefully to ensure that the employee’s legal rights are protected.
Knowledgeable legal professionals can even negotiate with the business to improve the terms of the agreement. For example, an attorney may fight to increase the amount of severance pay or to extend the period of healthcare coverage.
Furthermore, an employment law specialist in Hackensack, NJ, can advise the worker on the potential legal consequences of signing the agreement. It is not always obvious what actions are prohibited under the terms of a severance agreement.
Contact a Hackensack Employment Law Specialist Today
Without the guidance of a legal expert, you may waive your right to sue a negligent employer. You may also mistakenly violate non-compete clauses following the signing.
Consulting with a Hackensack employment law attorney at NJ Employment Lawyers means letting us help you understand the potential risks and benefits of signing an agreement with your former employer. Contact our firm today to discuss the specifics of your severance agreement.