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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...

Last week, the legislature passed a bill, which, if the Governor signs, will provide for some big changes to the legal landscape governing non-competes in Massachusetts.

Despite signing 53 other bills yesterday, however, Governor Baker still has not signed the noncompete bill. 

Here, I will set out a brief overview of some of the biggest changes this bill would provide. I'm not going to go into too...

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 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...

November 10, 2016

I talk to a lot of people who hate their jobs. They're on the verge. Their boss is terrible. They've worked their hearts out but it's just not working. They drag themselves in everyday. They're not sure they can do it much longer -- and perhaps, more importantly, they don't know if they want to. 

They need time and space. But should they hang in there for the career? 

For the money? 

Is there someth...

September 9, 2016

Evil HR Lady, a Human Resources professional who has been trying to -- in her words "demystify your Human Resources Department" by way of her blog -- has posted a funny yet useful update on hiring a lawyer to deal with workplace issues. 

She writes

I get a lot of questions where the answer is, “you need to speak with an attorney.” Attorneys are expensive, and while some work on con...

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