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Employees often come to me with a proposed severance agreement and general release they received from their employers. These documents can be called a number of things, including a separation agreement, and can take a number of different forms, such as a letter. Typically, they are given to an employee to consider upon termination.  

Because the employer wrote it, the employer has sought...

On May 25, 2018, the Boston Globe sued one of its former employees for breach of contract arising out of a dispute that began on Twitter, and as the Globe alleges, implicates a provision of the parties' 2016 severance agreement. 

According to the complaint, in 2016, the employee separated from the Globe and received some severance pay in consideration for, among other things, an agreement "to cooperate...

February 14, 2018

When an employee is handed a draft severance agreement from an employer, many of the provisions, including the confidentiality or non-disclosure provision(s), will be drafted so that the employee is barred from acting, but the employer is not necessarily. 

A typical confidentiality or non-disclosure provision drafted by an employer looks like the following: 

Employee agrees that the terms, amount and ot...

January 30, 2018

I love this story. 

Alex Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, was negotiating his managerial contract with the Boston Red Sox this past October, just as Puerto Rico was beginning its recovery from Hurricane Maria.  

It seems that as part of Cora's personal employment contract, he negotiated a provision in which the Red Sox agreed to deliver medical supplies and other equipment to Puerto Rico to...

January 19, 2018

 The Massachusetts Appeals Court last week issued a quick reminder on the effect of general releases in severance agreements. This particular opinion came down after four years worth of employment litigation concerning one man's severance agreement.

First, what's a "general release"? In the context of a severance agreement (sometimes called a separation agreement), if an employee signs one, he or she i...

May 18, 2017

Thirty million Americans are subject to non-competition agreements, called non-competes, with their employers or former employers, according to a recent Treasury Department report. The agreements can often be a serious impediment to those employees' ability to move on from their former employers and find meaningful work in similar industries or geographic areas.

In many cases, employees sign non-c...

April 28, 2017

If you're over 40, it's because there's a law that requires it. (It's not because your employer is trying to do you any favors!)

Congress passed a law in 1967 called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §(s) 621, et seq. Given its name, unsurprisingly, it bars age discrimination in certain employment scenarios. 

For an employee's waiver of his or her rights under the AD...

March 23, 2017

Is your Massachusetts employer showing you the door while providing you with a severance agreement to consider?

It is advisable to go over it with an employment lawyer so that she can review the implications of each provision with you, as well as identify what is there and what also might not be there.

Below are eight things to consider when thinking about signing a severance agreement. Note that t...

June 11, 2016

A story in today's New York Times featured a common clause in severance agreement -- nondisparagement clauses.

Severance agreements generally set out the terms and conditions of the separation of employment between the employee and employer. They represent a significant doorway to pass through for each the employee and employer and should be approached and executed thoughtfully, voluntarily, and with f...

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