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Here’s a cautionary tale if you’re tempted to throw together a quick liability release without paying an attorney.

Recent case: John Hribek, who was over age 40, worked as a convenience store manager. When he was called into a meeting with upper management, he learned he was being terminated. The company offered him severance pay if he promised not to apply for unemployment or “any other benefit from a state or federal agency.”

Hribek signed, but changed his mind the next day. Then he filed for unemployment—and filed a disability discrimination and FMLA lawsuit.

Six years later, the validity of the agreement is still in litigation. A Texas appeals court recently sent the case back to a trial judge for more testimony on the circumstances under which the agreement was signed. (Buc-ee’s Limited v. Hribek, No. 03-08-00120, Texas Court of Appeals, 2009)

Note: Think that quicky agreement saved the employer any money?

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