Maryland Severance Agreements Lawyer
A Maryland severance agreements lawyer experienced in drafting, negotiating, and enforcing all types of employment contracts including severance agreements can help you. Many Maryland employers use severance agreements to clearly establish the terms and conditions surrounding an employee’s departure and may be offered to departing employees who are leaving for various reasons such as a layoff, termination, resignation, or retirement.
Since a severance agreement is a type of contract, it requires consideration to be binding on the parties. This basically means that both the employer and employee should be receiving something of value in the transaction. The employee usually receives compensation while the employer typically benefits from a signed release of potential claims against them. A lawyer could ensure that your rights as an employee are protected. Work with the qualified employment attorneys at Spiggle Law and know that you are in capable hands.
Deciding Whether This is the Best Option
Although signing a severance agreement could be an excellent option, it is not always your best option. Before signing a severance agreement, it is always worthwhile to consult with an educated Maryland severance agreements lawyer. An attorney can carefully evaluate all your options to ensure that you are making an informed decision.
When employees sign severance agreements, they are often signing away powerful rights to bring lawsuits against their employer. Employees may not think they have a claim or do not think that their potential claim is significant. However, an attorney who knows employment law can provide helpful insight into any claims potentially available and whether they are worth pursuing.
It is important to know that these types of agreements are customarily negotiable. Severance agreements are rarely a “take it or leave it” type of deal. An attorney can negotiate the proposed terms of a severance agreement on behalf of an employee to hopefully incorporate favorable terms.
Scope of Severance Agreements
The severance agreement itself will determine what aspects of the employment relationship it covers. Generally, severance agreements will contain provisions such as:
- General release
- Waiver of claims
- Non-compete agreement
- Non-solicitation agreement
- Non-disclosure agreement
Discrimination and Severance Agreements
Waivers of discrimination claims are permissible so long as those waivers meet certain basic requirements. One requirement is that they must be knowing and voluntary. The meaning of “knowing and voluntary” varies from case to case, but generally means that the language contained in the waiver must be quite clear.
While claims involving prior acts of discrimination can be legally waived, future acts of discrimination cannot. For example, it is unlawful to require an employee to sign an agreement that prohibits the employee for filing a discrimination claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) alleging discrimination in the future.
Waivers of Age Discrimination in Employment Claims
The Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protect workers over the age of 40 from unfair treatment in the workplace. These protections extend to the enforcement of severance agreements.
An employer’s failure to provide sufficient time for an employee to review and contemplate a severance agreement may violate the law. Pursuant to the applicable regulations, employees asked to waive claims under the ADEA are allotted a 21-day time period during which to review the terms of a proposed severance agreement. Furthermore, if an employee is being laid off in a workforce reduction, they have up to 45 days to consider the offer. Even after an employee signs a severance agreement waiving claims under the ADEA, there is a seven-day revocation period following the execution of the agreement during which they can revoke their acceptance.
Contacting a Maryland Severance Agreements Attorney
If you have questions about any aspect of your severance agreement, ask a talented Maryland severance agreements lawyers. The attorneys at the Spiggle Law Firm have helped many employers and employees with severance agreements and can help you. Click here for a free online consultation.