Jena McClellan said that after telling her employer, Midwest Machining, Inc., that she was pregnant, harassed, criticized for not working because of prenatal medical appointments, she resigned despite an excellent work record. On the last day, the CEO called her and allegedly harassed her to accept a modest severance pay in exchange for a separation and release agreement. In the end, the Landgericht admitted only limited findings as to whether the applicant had “knowingly and voluntarily executed the agreement” and the Tribunal sought the application of the tendering doctrine. The employer then sought summary judgment and argued that the severance agreement had excluded the applicant`s appeal and that the applicant could not proceed with the case because she had not repaid the consideration before the appeal was filed. Federal law does not require employers to pay severance pay to workers whose jobs are cut. Or state law. Companies that provide severance pay generally do so to identify the employee`s service, facilitate the transition to unemployment and induce the employee to waive her rights to sue the employer for improper dismissal. Since neither federal nor national law imposes severance pay, the rules on severance pay are left to the discretion of the employer. Many employers calculate severance pay based on the length of service of the worker, usually one or two weeks` pay for each year. This is a big mistake that many employees make.

We are not saying that an employee automatically hires a lawyer to read and explain a termination agreement. If an employee does not feel that he or she has been the victim of illegal employer behaviour or if the terms of the severance pay are relatively reduced, the comparative costs of hiring a lawyer may not be worth it. A common question for our labour lawyers is whether we are reviewing the severance agreement or reviewing contracts. The answer is yes! Our labour law experts often check employment contracts and severance agreements to ensure they best serve our clients. A common problem we encounter when reviewing severance agreements is that employers try to introduce clauses that restrict the worker`s right to discriminate against his employer.

Thursday, April 8th, 2021


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