DO NOT SIGN THAT SEVERANCE
AGREEMENT IN CALIFORNIA
BEFORE SPEAKING TO US!
If you were terminated, laid off, or fired, in California you are still owed overtime if your duties were primarily non-exempt. However, DO NOT SIGN A SEVERANCE
agreement without consulting our office. California law has
recently changed. If you sign a severance agreement as part
of a layoff you may be waiving your right to make a claim for overtime and other legal rights under California and Federal
law. Typically, California high tech companies include a
“general release” in severance packages. If you sign the
GENERAL RELEASE, then you may be waiving your right to
overtime and other wage related benefits.
BEFORE YOUR COMPANY REQUESTS THAT YOU SIGN THE
RELEASE, IT MUST ADVISE YOU REGARDING DISPUTED
CLAIMS FOR OVERTIME. Unless your employer tells you that
it may owe you overtime, then it might not be able to
obligate you to release the overtime claims. However, this
depends greatly on the circumstances under which your
employer presents the severance package. Companies do
not advise you regarding the rights you are releasing.
They call it a “severance” but the true reality is that it is a
“General Release.” When you sign it you are signing away
just about every legal claim INCLUDING CLAIMS YOU ARE
NOT AWARE OF.
In California, hundreds of engineers, computer programmers,
and IT professionals contact us regularly AFTER they sign a
severance package. It is unfortunate, but with the exception
of a few, we cannot pursue a claim for overtime or labor
related claims IF the employee also signed a general
release. Typically, companies hide the general release in
the severance BUT they do NOT fully disclose to you what
you are actually signing away.
BE CAUTIOUS WHEN SIGNING A RELEASE, SEVERANCE,
OR ANY DOCUMENT AS PART OF A LAY OFF.