Cedar Rapids, IA asked in Employment Law and Business Law for Iowa

Q: I’m being asked to sign a non-disparagement agreement in order to collect a severance package.

Are conversations held prior to the presentation of the agreement excluded?

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Non-Disparagement Agreements are being quite common. They are enforceable, however, if no liquidated damages are stated in the agreement it might be quite difficult for the company to prove actual damages if you breach the agreement and say something derrogatory about the company, its officers, directors, eployees, products or services.

There is also a possible claim they could make against you fro libel (printed or text statements) or slander (verbal statements). Truth is always a defense to libel and slander, but you would have to prove it.

If you feel the severence package is worth the gag order being establsihed by the non-disparagement agreement then that is a personal decision. I am also assuming you have no other claims against the company for employee based claims such as harrassment or creating a hostile work environment.

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The information appearing in this answer should not be construed as legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only and may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of attorney Joseph B. LaRocco.

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