A separation agreement is a document a company uses to set out the terms of an employee’s separation from that company. The agreement will usually include a release of claims against the employer, limiting lawsuits the employee can bring against the company. Separation agreements often also discuss topics including confidentiality, non-compete, and severance package provisions.

For Employers: Should I Utilize a Separation Agreement?

Separation agreements can be a useful tool for employers who are concerned about potential litigation after an employment relationship has been terminated. The agreement is an enforceable contract that can limit a terminated employee’s right to bring a claim against the company. This may be particularly useful in the event of the termination of an employee who is a member of a protected class or has made allegations of harassment.

A separation agreement can also help an employer memorialize the contractual relationship with the terminated employee moving forward. The separation agreement can contain non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-disparagement provisions, as well as others. If drafted correctly, the agreement is an important way for a company to make sure its best interests are protected after an employee is terminated.

For Employees: Should I Sign a Separation Agreement?

For an employee, the question of whether to sign a separation agreement often comes at an already difficult time. If your employment has just been terminated and now your employer is asking you to sign an agreement, it’s important to take the time to ensure that you’re making the best decision for yourself. It is often advantageous to seek out an attorney, skilled in employment law, to make sure you know your rights. Typically, an employee only has a short window of time to act on a separation agreement, so it’s best to get advice from a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.

A benefit of signing a separation agreement is that it may clarify a confusing situation. The agreement should state that the employee was terminated, along with the termination date and, potentially, the reason for termination. The separation agreement may also discuss the employee’s severance package. Since it is in the company’s best interest for the employee to sign a separation agreement, the employee must decide if the severance package offered, if any, if worth releasing rights to bring a claim against the company. The employee may have leverage in terms of negotiating a better severance package. Speaking to an attorney before signing any agreement discussing a severance package will allow the employee to determine if they may be in a position to negotiate. An employment attorney can help the employee realize if he is a member of a protected class, may have been unlawfully terminated, or have any other leverage that can be used when negotiating.

Call General Counsel PC Today
Whether you’re an employer or an employee who has just been terminated, attorneys at General Counsel PC can provide you with the knowledge and assistance to ensure your best interests are protected. Our attorneys are specialized in employment law and business law, assisting businesses and individuals across Virginia, specifically in Fairfax County, Arlington, Loudoun County, and Prince William. Contact General Counsel PC at 703-436-9838 today to see how we can help you protect your legal rights.


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