Offering an employee a severance payment in exchange for releasing any legal claims won’t be used against you.
Courts want to encourage dispute settlement—and if severance offers could be used against employers later in court, cases would rarely be settled.
Recent case: Thomas Mangano was fired, but was offered 17 weeks of pay as severance. The condition: He would agree not to sue.
He refused and sued for discrimination. Before trial, he tried to get the court to introduce the severance offer as evidence of the company’s supposed wrongdoing.
The court refused, and Mangano lost the case when the jury concluded the company hadn’t discriminated. (Mangano v. Verity, No. H033286, Court of Appeal of California, 6th Appellate Division, 2009)
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