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What Is In A Separation Agreement?

Our attorneys walk you through it

When your employment with a company is terminated, there are several issues that need to be worked out. You often will be asked to sign a separation agreement that sets terms and conditions for the end of the employment relationship. This agreement will affect your future. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced employment attorney to protect your rights.

The attorneys at Gibson Law, LLC used to represent employers in cases involving a wide range of employment issues, including cases involving separation and severance. We negotiated separation agreements designed to protect employer’s interests. Now, we use our experience and legal knowledge to make sure these agreements meet the needs of employees.

A separation agreement is essentially a contract between an employer and a soon-to-be former employee. They are often used after a layoff, the elimination of a position or the termination of employment for other reasons. This contract is a way for employers to protect themselves, but ideally it is beneficial for both parties.

What do separation agreements typically include?

Waiver of the right to sue: By signing the contract, you agree to not pursue any legal action against your employer for wrongful termination or other disputes during your employment at the company. That generally includes any discrimination, harassment or retaliation you experienced as a member of a protected class (race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (over 40), disability or being a whistleblower).

Confidentiality clauses: Your employer may want to keep the separation agreement confidential. By signing, you agree not to discuss the terms and conditions of the separation agreement you signed with anyone. The only exceptions are your spouse, tax advisor and attorney.

Non-disparagement clauses: Employers may include this type of clause to protect their reputation. In short, your employer does not want you to say anything bad about the company after you leave. By signing, you agree not to say anything negative about the employer or its management team. This includes speaking to the media and making comments on social media platforms.

Non-compete clauses: Your employer may be concerned about the possibility that you may use your knowledge and experience to benefit one of their competitors. These clauses prevent you from working for the company’s competitors or a specific amount of time following your separation.

Ineligible for re-hire clauses: In some cases, an employer may try to prevent an employee from ever returning. This clause is a way of ensuring that you will not try to work for the company at any point in the future.

In exchange for agreeing to these terms and conditions, an employer offers a severance agreement that provides you with pay and benefits for a certain period of time after your employment ends.

Separation agreements are complicated. The language needs to be clear so that there are no misunderstandings by either party. Before agreeing to waive any rights, you need to be sure that the agreement meets your needs. Our experienced attorneys carefully review these agreements for clients and can often negotiate more favorable terms.

Learn more about how we can help you. If you are separating from a company, contact us for a consultation with a member of our legal team. Our offices are located in Cincinnati and Dayton.

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