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Don’t break severance promise, you may be personally liable

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

A company president refused to fully honor employee Donald Chisholm's severance agreement, even though it was clearly spelled out in Chisholm's employment contract. So Chisholm sued for breach of contract and willful failure to pay wages. The company president claimed the contract, signed during a previous president's tenure, wasn't enforceable. A jury disagreed, awarding $36,058 in damages against the company and $36,000 in damages against the company president personally. Reason: The president's refusal to pay was "willful." The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed and let the awards stand. (Chisholm Jr., v. Ultima Nashua Industrial Corp., No. 2002-456, N.H., 2003)

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