In severance agreements, employers typically require employees to sign promises not to file employment-related lawsuits. But don't try to includein that waiver.
Why? A new ruling clarifies that courts won't uphold severance-package waivers that ask employees to give up theirrights. The Labor Department's specifically state that "employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive, their rights under the FMLA." So any severance deal that seeks to waive those rights, such as the one in the case below, will be deemed unenforceable. That is, unless the company has received prior approval of the waiver from a court or the U.S. Labor Department.
Recent case: Barbara Taylor sued her former employer, Progress Energy, after being laid off in a reduction in force. She lost her job because herput her near the bottom of company performers. Taylor elected to take a $12,000 severance payment in exchange for agreeing not to sue for any employment-law violations.
But soon after cashing the check, Taylor filed an FMLA lawsuit, alleging that she was laid off because herwas unfairly low due to leave that should have been counted as . Progress Energy claimed she lost her right to file an FMLA lawsuit when she signed the waiver and took the severance pay.
The appeals court disagreed. It noted that the Labor Department's regulations prohibit employees from waiving their FMLA rights. Without approval from Labor or a court, FMLA releases are invalid. (Taylor v. Progress Energy Inc., No. 04-1525, 4th Cir., 2005)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/167/dont-ask-employees-to-sign-away-their-fmla-rights "
- Prison nurses say race, complaints led to firings
- Protect against bias allegations: Involve hiring manager in any termination decision
- Beware denying 'vacation' requests that are thinly disguised as FMLA leave
- State Pays Out Nearly $4 Million After Firing at-Will Employee
- Ex-employees: Gone but not forgotten Courts' broader definition of 'employee' expands your liability