Retention, Severance & Waivers – Read Your Documents Carefully

If your employer presents you with a retention agreement and it contains waivers of claims, consider the following:

● Your employer is presenting you with the contract because you have something they want. This typically gives you leverage to negotiate the contract and obtain more favorable terms than what is being offered. An experienced attorney can review the proposed agreement and help you understand all your options.

● When you read through the proposed contract, look for language that includes releases or waivers of claims. This type of language can be hidden in a paragraph that does not have a title indicating it is a release. Look for release words such as “covenant not to sue” or “promise not to sue.” Releases belong in severance agreements, not in retention agreements.

● One of the most important considerations in a contract is the amount the employer is willing to pay, whether it is to retain you or as part of your severance. Regardless of what the contract is titled, you must decide if the payment being offered is enough, even if you may lose your job right after you sign the agreement.

● If you are only interested in signing a retention agreement, you can request that any release language be removed from the contract. This can help protect your chances of receiving a severance payment in return for your agreement to sign a waiver of claims at a later date. At a minimum, if the release language is not removed from the contract, you should ask for additional compensation in exchange for signing it.

● Confirm that your retention agreement only requires you to remain in your job in order to receive the retention bonus. You want to make sure you have the right to leave your employment if your “dream job” is offered to you during the retention period, with the only consequence being that you sacrifice your retention bonus. If this occurs, then you might be able to

negotiate with your employer to pay a prorated amount of your bonus. You may also be able to ask your new employer to match the bonus you will lose by taking their offer. As they say, it never hurts to ask!

Mailly Law is knowledgeable and experienced in handling retention agreements. We will help you understand all your options and aggressively negotiate every benefit and protection in your favor. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.