Should you sign a severance agreement?

Should you sign a severance agreement?

| Jun 1, 2021 | Contracts |

Ohio law generally does not require your employer to give you a severance package if they cut your job. Thus, if they offer one, you might jump at the chance to receive extra money.

Yet, employers who offer a severance package expect something in return. You need to look at what benefits the severance package offers and the restrictions the separation agreement places on you. 

Make sure you understand all details of a separation agreement before signing

When an employer creates a separation agreement, they may include restrictive clauses. Signing without complete understanding could lead to legal problems in the future. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Would signing affect your ability to find work? Employers may include non-compete clauses to stop you from going to their competition. Yet, that may be your best chance of work, as it is a field you know. Consider the scope of any non-compete clause. They need to have a time limit and a geographical limit.
  2. Would signing throw away your right to litigation? If an employer sees you as causing problems, they may get rid of you. Yet, you might have a valid reason to “create problems” such as if you suffered discrimination or harassment. If you suspect your firing is motivated by discrimination or retaliation, you may not want to sign.
  3. Would signing require you to remain silent about wrongdoing? Several big tech firms have come under fire for preventing former employees from speaking out about events during their time with the company. Agreeing to stay silent allows inappropriate behavior and work practices to continue to harm others.

Not all severance packages are bad. Your employer may feel terrible about laying you off and be trying to make it up. If you are unsure, it is crucial to find out how signing the separation agreement will affect your legal rights.