Employers are required to respect the legal rights of current and former employees. This includes following federal wage and hour regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as not engaging in discriminatory behavior or retaliation. When workers decide to move on from a job, that employer cannot unfairly restrain their ability to continue working in their chosen field. Former employees are not without recourse against employers that force them to sign unfair severance agreements or illegally restrictive non-compete clauses upon their departure. Birmingham severance agreement lawyer Will Beckum assists employees who have been subjected to unfair business practices by their employers with pursuing proper legal action. If you have signed a severance agreement that you think was unfair, or you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated in any way, you may be entitled to a legal remedy.Enforceability of Severance Agreements
Employers have a right to protect their business interests, but this right must be balanced against an employee’s right to future employment. Severance agreements and non-compete clauses address this balance and allow a former employee to work elsewhere in the future. Severance agreements and packages are offers containing payments and benefits when employees depart a company. These agreements may include continued salary for a period of time, as well as payment for unused sick or vacation leave, stock options, or other benefits not utilized at the time of departure. Mostly, both parties enter into severance agreements voluntarily, except in circumstances in which a previous written contract exists or in which the severance agreement is contained in a collective bargaining agreement.
However, sometimes, an employee may feel pressured to sign a severance agreement after being threatened with termination by an employer. Severance packages can also be challenged legally by a severance agreement attorney in the Birmingham area for the following reasons:
- If a severance agreement violates a law, it can be ruled invalid. For instance, agreements that violate federal statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or another applicable federal or state law, can be shown to be void.
- An employer is liable for violating a worker’s rights. For example, employees retain their rights to file claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act if they have not been paid properly for overtime or other work, despite signing a liability waiver contained in a severance agreement.
- The termination of an employee was unlawfully discriminatory. Employees may not be terminated on the basis of their age, gender, race, religion, national origin, or color.
- The termination of employment was in violation of another type of law or a worker’s rights. For instance, employees cannot be terminated for whistleblowing or union activities, or due to jury service.
Additionally, if a severance agreement contains a non-compete clause, this clause must not be overly restrictive. A Birmingham severance agreement attorney can advise you on whether this standard may be met in your case. Non-compete clauses are agreements that a former employee will not compete with the employer upon departing from the company. To be enforceable, these clauses need to contain time limits and geographical stipulations so that an employee may still seek employment in their given area of expertise. Determining whether a severance agreement is valid, or whether an employee’s termination was unlawful, may involve an investigation into an employer’s business practices, including gathering evidence of the basis of an employee’s termination and how other employees have been treated in the past.Consult a Knowledgeable Severance Agreement Lawyer in the Birmingham Area
Employers should not be able to take advantage of their workers, and when they try to do this, they should be held liable. Beckum Law represents Alabama residents who have been subjected to discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and other forms of misconduct in the workplace. We offer legal guidance to people in cities such as Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Bessemer, Prattville, Montgomery, Cullman, Pell City, Pelham, Sylacauga, and Tuscaloosa. If you have questions regarding a severance agreement, or about any other employment law issue, contact our office today online or at 205-588-0699 to find out more about how we can help.