If your employees sign releases agreeing to settle minor employment-related claims out of court, make sure the language is broad enough to actually stop any further litigation.
Recent case: Holly Hummel claimed her former employer, AstraZeneca, discriminated against her. The company offered her $13,077 to go away, and she accepted. Hummel signed a release for any claims “related in any way” to her “employment relationship….” She cashed the check.
Then she sued for unpaid overtime. The court tossed out the case based on the release, despite Hummel’s argument that the release only applied to her discrimination case. The court said the release clearly stated that she was willing to drop any claims related to her employment in exchange for the cash. (Hummel v. AstraZeneca, No. 07-CIV-5473, SD NY, 2008)