Q: I have been terminated from my employment due to company restructuring. What happens if I sign a separation agreement?
My employer restructured the business and eliminated my position. The separation agreement states in order to be paid out my severance and vacation, I must agree not retaliate or seek legal action against the company. I am an older employee with a 23 year work history. If I refuse to sign, can they refuse to pay my severance and vacation balance, even though it states in the employee handbook, employees whose position has been eliminated will receive vacation pay and one week of severance for each year of service?
A: Yes. The employee handbook is not a binding contract. I would recommend reaching out to an employment attorney in your state for a consultation and/or severance review. During the meeting, you can discuss the circumstances surrounding the position elimination, whether or not you have any legal claims., and determine if signing the severance is a suitable resolution.
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