Severance Agreements

News & Analysis as of

Benefits Litigation Update – Fall 2015

Message from ERIC President and CEO Annette Guarisco Fildes: Welcome to the Fall edition of Benefits Litigation Update, brought to you by The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and the law firm of Epstein Becker &...more

Federal Court Allows Terminated Employee to Proceed with Age Discrimination Claim Despite Her Execution of a Release of Claims

A recent Colorado federal court decision serves as a good reminder to employers on how not to obtain a release of claims from a terminated employee. For starters, don’t tell the employee her job is being eliminated and then...more

Corporate Divorce Series: Disparage-Me-Not

If you have been following my corporate divorce series, you may have read the “Break Up” piece where I advised newly terminated folks to keep their cool if they are unexpectedly fired because their post-firing behavior might...more

Now’s the Time to Review Compensation Arrangements Relating to Unvested Rights

Correction of Errors before Year End Could Avoid Costly 409A Penalties - Sometimes overlooked is the fact that many employment, severance and change-of-control agreements are subject to U.S. Internal Revenue Code...more

Is Your Severance Policy an ERISA Plan?

Severance plans are generally covered under ERISA, but it is not always easy to distinguish an ERISA-covered severance plan from a non-ERISA severance policy. There are advantages and disadvantages to being an ERISA-covered...more

Getting Releases Right

There are times when it makes sense to resolve an actual or potential employment law claim by paying something and getting a release from the employee. Paying severance in return for a release and waiver of claims isn’t...more

Separately Assessing Separation Agreements

Separation or severance agreements —which typically provide a terminating employee with some kind of cash payment, temporary salary continuation, or other gratuitous benefit in exchange for a release of claims — have their...more

ERISA Case Highlights Importance of Written Releases at Termination of Employment: Sullivan v. Stanadyne Corporation

A federal court has dismissed claims for enhanced retirement benefits in a case highlighting a participant’s written release of claims at the time of his employment termination. Sullivan v. Stanadyne Corporation, Case No....more

Retaliation: Realities and Myths

Unlawful workplace retaliation can take several forms, and claims for retaliation arise under a number of different statutes and common law theories. Workers compensation statutes, for example, contain provisions that...more

Corporate Divorce: Treat Your Employment Contract Like a Prenup

Once again I observe that while I am not a divorce lawyer, the analogies of divorce law to my employment practice are startling. Two parties meet (the interview), they realize how many things they have in common (the job...more

No-Hire Clauses Common to Settlement Agreements Now Void In California

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently broadened California's already expansive interest in promoting employee mobility by voiding any contract provision imposing a meaningful obstacle to a California resident's ability...more

How to Avoid Brown Act Violations When Discussing Litigation Issues

A nearly $400,000 severance deal struck between Pasadena Community College and its former president was nullified by a judge after determining that the deal was improperly discussed and finalized in closed session. A Los...more

Are Top Hat Plans Entitled to a Discretionary Standard of Review?

Many years ago the Supreme Court decided that qualified retirement plans that gave their fiduciaries discretion to determine plan benefits were entitled to have their decisions, reviewed by a court under a generous “abuse of...more

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Severance Agreement FLSA Collective Action Waiver Case

The Supreme Court has declined to grant review of a Sixth Circuit decision that cast significant doubt on the effectiveness of an employee’s waiver of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action rights. Last summer, the...more

Australian Employment Contracts And What Terms Will Now Be Implied After Barker

The long awaited High Court of Australia decision in Commonwealth of Australia v Barker held that a duty of mutual trust and confidence is not implied into Australian contracts of employment... Many commentators...more

First Circuit Reviews Top Hat Plan Benefits Denial for Abuse of Discretion

The First Circuit recently applied an abuse of discretion standard of review to a claim for top hat plan benefits. Plaintiff Robert Niebauer, a former executive of Crane, brought a claim for executive severance plan benefits...more

Federal agencies attack employment agreements, and what you can do about it: 8 steps to consider

The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently caused shockwaves when it announced its first enforcement action against a company for using an allegedly improper confidentiality agreement during internal investigations....more

SEC Blows the Whistle on Confidentiality Agreements

Thanks to a recent enforcement action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it may be time to review and revise the confidentiality provisions in employment agreements, severance agreements, employee...more

China: End of Cheap Labor Should Not Come As a Surprise

If you are an avid shopper, you may have noticed in the past holiday season that fewer and fewer items on the shelf had the familiar “Made in China” label. In 2013, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that the era...more

[Event] What Employers Need to Know about Attracting, Managing and Separating from Their Employees - April 30, Houston, TX

The Greater Houston Partnership will hold a continuing education series "What Employers Need to Know about Attracting, Managing and Separating from Their Employees: Current Legal Compliance and Talent Management Issues."...more

Petition Urges DOL To Target Contractual Clauses Discouraging Whistleblowing

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Zuckerman Law recently petitioned the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to issue rules and guidance prohibiting “de facto” gag clauses in settlement and severance agreements that...more

Companies Should Monitor Deferred Compensation Arrangements For Section 409A Compliance Purposes

Given the complexity of the rules under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, which govern the timing and taxation of payments made under non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements (NDCAs), companies are encouraged...more

The SEC Will Be Your Employment Law Agency, Too

The nature of the SEC’s business a regulator of public companies lends a certain expansive aspect to its jurisdiction. That is, when your job as a government agency is to be sure public companies are making complete and...more

SEC Targeting Broad Employee Confidentiality Clauses

February 27, 2015 Authors: Gregory Keating and Harry Jones The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently contacted a number of companies seeking every confidentiality agreement, nondisclosure agreement, settlement...more

Employee Who Was Sued By Former Employer Collects $271,000 From Employer

PCGH sued its former employee, Thomas Keck, to collect on an unpaid promissory note. Keck defended against the action by claiming that any money he owed PCGH was offset by monies PCGH owed him for unpaid bonus and severance...more

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