Even if an employee has signed a severance agreement to deny many claims against your company (but not the ability to file a lawsuit with the EEOC), you still want the employee to leave your company, knowing that you have done everything in your power to ensure that their exit goes smoothly and painlessly. Once you have entered into your compensation agreement and your legal team has had it reviewed, you are ready to extend the offer to your employee. As part of your severance agreement, there should be details of how long the person must refuse or sign the offer. This is called the “reflection period.” When an employee accepts the terms of a termination agreement, she promises to waive her civil rights and compensate the employer for the rights to unlawful dismissal on the basis of age, race, national origin or other forms of discrimination. In addition to the fact that the worker is compensated for the duration of the notification, an employer wishes to know that the worker will not claim that the company acted in a discriminatory manner when it terminated its employment relationship. Given the terms of a compensation agreement, it is understandable that a staff member would want to take the time to review the agreement and possibly have their lawyer reviewed. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides technical guidelines for employers on severance agreements and the abandonment of discrimination rights. After an initial review of the agreement, you can choose to hire an employment lawyer, especially if you have evidence of discrimination, if the language of the package is too complicated or broad, or if the agreement is several pages long. Ask the lawyer what the state`s laws governing severance agreements are and whether there are any provisions regarding timing and payment amounts. Also talk to on-site employment and recruitment agencies to determine how long it may take you to get a new job at the same level and salary. Since employers must give workers over 40 years of age at least 21 days to review the agreement, many organizations have simply accepted this time frame as the standard for all workers, making it easier to have a paper-based policy that can be used for the majority of people affected by an FIR or dismissal. When an employee over the age of 40 is dismissed as part of a broader group or class of redundancies (think of a reduction in termination, often referred to as RIF, or the elimination of an entire branch or department of a company), that employee has 45 days to consider an offer of severance pay. If you are unsure how much time you would like to give for the severance review, contact one of our work lawyers and we will be happy to help.
Avoid these arguments by giving the employee enough time to think about the release agreement.