EEOC Issues Guidance on Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Severance Agreements
On July 15, 2009, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance for employers and workers in response to recent inquiries about waivers of discrimination claims in employee severance agreements.
The guidance, written in a question-and-answer format, covers subjects as basic as "What does a severance agreement look like?", to a complete, separate section on the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which accounts for nearly 25% of all EEOC claims. Also included are a sample agreement for employers to use as a model and a checklist that workers may use as a tool prior to signing a waiver of such claims.
Since in some cases an employer can request that a worker "knowingly and voluntarily" sign a waiver of certain legal claims as a part of a severance agreement, the guidance specifically explains that although such agreements may include language that releases the employer from financial legal liabilities, the agreement may not include language that waives the employee's right to file discrimination claims directly with the EEOC or participate in EEOC anti-discrimination proceedings.
For additional information on the EEOC, visit the EEOC Web site and AGC's Labor & HR Topical Resources page.
Return to Top