BusinessBrief.com » Feds issue ‘How to Sue Your Employer’ instructions

Feds issue ‘How to Sue Your Employer’ instructions

August 3, 2009 by Jim Giuliano
Posted in: Special Report


law

OK, the document isn’t actually called “How to Sue Your Employer.” It does, however, provide employees with a guide to legal loopholes. And your HR person should be aware of it.

The document, issued this month, is officially titled “Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements.” It’s intended to provide guidance to employees who may receive such an agreement — and who need guidance on whether they have valid grounds for a lawsuit against an employer.

EEOC issued the document after noting an increase in age discrimination charges filed with the Commission, and what the EEOC characterized as “recent controversial Supreme Court decisions on enforcement of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).”

In summary, the document:

  • provides guidance to terminated employees who are offered severance pay in exchange for a waiver of discrimination claims
  • explains the purpose of severance agreements and releases, as well as the legal requirements for such agreements to be valid, including requirements for a valid release of age discrimination claims under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act
  • advises employees that even if they have signed a waiver releasing their employer from claims, they can still file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC without first returning their severance pay

The document even contains an “Employee Checklist,” advising employees of factors to consider when they are offered a severance agreement.

How to use it to your advantage
Rather than hiding the document, HR can consider it a useful resource for drawing up a severance agreement. For instance, you can find in the document a sample waiver that’s just about bulletproof against lawsuits.

Further, you can use the document to draw up a list of “don’ts” when drafting a severance agreement — what not to put in the agreement.

And consider the document a heads-up that EEOC is giving all such agreements a closer look.

Go here to see the full document.

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  • gtennant

    Your lead story is pulled directly from conservative fringe web sites. Did you even fact check this? I want real unbiased news, not propaganda.

    Anyway what is wrong with educating employees on their rights. I am an employer, but I would rather have my employees know the rules and treat them accordingly and them treat the company accordingly to our mutual responsibilities. That way you end up in court a whole lot less. You really do not need to paint this as some evil white house conspiracy to overthrow business. I actually aplaud the effort.

  • Elain T. Vance

    I am a 22 year union member with 30 years employment at the same union and I have been told that I will be laid off and the lady with the 1 1/2 employment will not. We are both union members I trained her when she came. The new president fired me on his first day in office 1/5/2009 and I was off for three weeks and the membership voted that I should be returned to work and made whole, I was returned and lost pay was paid but not made whole. He said that he should be able to fire who he wanted to and took all of my work from me and gave it to the new lady. He is using the reason that I don’t do anything all day as the excuse for wanting to lay me off. I have two things to do not because I don’t know how but because he said so.

    What am I to do if laid off?

  • http://Glhrs.com Kim Thomas

    I find it depressing as a business owner the Feds don’t issue a publication on how employers and employess can work together as a team to get through this economy. I do educate my employees on thier rights but as a business owner I pay more for the professionally unemployed, and I have to cut back on the actual working employees benefits. I can not get the unemployed workers back to work and have to train and hire new employees while the professionally unemployed continue to receive benefits. As a 52 year old hanidcapp female business owner in a male dominant industry I think enough is enough I treat all my employees very well great pay great benefits, and every employee who doesn’t do there job tries to sue me. I believe we need to spend more time taking care of the employees that work hard everyday instead of figuring out another way to sue somebody.
    I think it really doesn’t matter how well you treat your employees, we have become a “sue you society” unfortuantely the real working person is paying for it.

  • Carrie Anne

    After years of trusting my employers, honestly believing they had my best interest at heart, I found out the hard way, how quickly your 15 years of hard work and dedication are forgotten when the company believes the liability of keeping you, outweighs the liability of getting rid of you. No concern for you, your family, or your future. Your HR rep is NOT your friend folks..she is paid by your employer to protect them..not you. Understand that, you don’t sign their checks, so you are never going to be favored. I was injured at work, through no fault of my own, with many witnesses. I filed workers comp. I was terminated, without any effort to accomodate my disabilities. Believe this, when your company asks you to bring your concerns to them, instead of involving “outsiders” they simply mean gives us a jump on involving our attorneys, before you involve yours. And believe that the second you are out of their office, or they hang up the phone from you, they involve their attorneys..I am sorry folks, but that is exactly what it means. I too, was crazy enough to believe that people do the right thing. They don’t. I hated negative people who were paranoid about HR..now I am one of them. I didn’t do this to myself, my company did this to me. Protect yourself. If you have a disability, get it noted with your HR, and doctor. NEVER let discrimination of any type go without reporting it to the EEOC if it needs to be reported..Don’t do them any favors, because it will break your heart when you watch them take great efforts to get rid of you, as if you meant nothing, and trust me they will to protect their bottom line..You have 180 days after you have been discriminated against with the EEOC, don’t lose your opportunity. Document everything and do all your correspondence in writing. Sorry, this is negative, but it is reality for me. I hope it never is for you.


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