• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

EEOC targets last-chance deals that limit employee rights

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The EEOC has won the first round in a legal battle over whether an em­­ployer may ask workers to waive their rights to file future discrimination claims.

German company Cognis Corp. presented employee Steven Whitlow, who worked at its facility in Kankakee, with a “last-chance agreement” containing just such a waiver. Whitlow re­­signed rather than sign the agreement and then filed an EEOC complaint.

Now the EEOC is suing on Whit­­low’s behalf, alleging that it retaliated against him when it fired him for refusing to sign the agreement.

Employers frequently use last-chance agreements when disciplining employees who have repeatedly violated workplace rules. Normally, last-chance agreements explain what specific behavior the employee must avoid or perform in order to stay employed. For example, an employee with a history of drinking on the job could be required to enter rehabilitation and not test positive for alcohol or illegal drugs for a year. If the em­­ployee fails any of these tests, he or she would be terminated.

The EEOC sued Cognis, claiming its last-chance agreement had the effect of conditioning Whitlow’s continued employment on giving up his right to sue the company.

When Cognis moved to have the case dismissed, a federal court not only disagreed, but stated that “there is sufficient legal support for this court to reach the conclusion that [the employer’s] threat of retaliation contained in the LCAs constitutes a retaliatory policy under Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act].”

Note: Last-chance agreements should focus on making employees productive again, not limiting their rights.

Advice: Have your attorney review any document you want your em­­ployees to sign—from employee handbooks to last-chance agreements. As this case illustrates, the pitfalls are many. The document could violate state or federal law, or could be construed as a contract binding you to keep an employee on the payroll for an extended period of time.

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/30737/eeoc-targets-last-chance-deals-that-limit-employee-rights "

Leave a Comment