FisherBroyles, LLP Partner, Amy Epstein Gluck, Esq., has been quoted in Ignites article, “Separation Anxiety: Pitfalls of Signing Severance Agreements” by Jill Gregorie. In this article, Ignites discusses a recent agreement by BlackRock to a $340,000 settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over provisions contained in separation agreements it presented to employees between October 2011 and March 2016 that required workers to waive their rights to whistle-blower bounties.
Gluck is quoted as follows:
Workers over the age of 40 are afforded extra protections when asked to sign a waiver relinquishing their rights to sue the company, says Amy Gluck, partner at law firm FisherBroyles.
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), those waivers must include seven key provisions, Gluck says. One is that it must explicitly advise the employee to consult a lawyer before accepting its terms. Language such as “I had the opportunity to consult a lawyer before signing” does not suffice, Gluck says.
The waiver must also give the over-40 employee 21 days to consider its terms, or 45 days during periods of group layoffs. Companies can offer an incentive to sign the waiver, but those incentives must go beyond what the severance package would already provide, Gluck says.
Employers can also sweeten the pot for younger employees in order to convince them to sign claim waivers, but the company needs to stipulate that the agreement is “knowing and voluntary,” Gluck says.
To fit that bill, the language must be sufficiently clear and specific, given the employee’s educational background and professional experience. In addition, it cannot be signed under duress, and the employer needs to offer a reasonable — but not clearly defined — amount of time to consider its advantages and disadvantages, Gluck says.
To view this article visit: People Feature: Separation Anxiety: Pitfalls of Signing Severance Agreements