Yes, if you sign the release in exchange for the cash payment, you are basically settling the lawsuit by releasing the county from any liability with regard to you for their actions. You would have to make the assessment as to whether the 20K is more than you would receive in any settlement.
California Civil Code Section 1542
A general release does not extend to claims which thecreditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at thetime of executing the release, which if known by him or her musthave materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.
Here is the waiver form they are asking us to sign-
COUNTY OF SONOMA
VOLUNTARY SEPARATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM
You are eligible to separate voluntarily from your employment with the County of
Sonoma ("County") and to receive benefits under the County Voluntary Separation
Incentive Program ("VSIP") for which you are eligible. The amount of separation pay
you will receive under the Program is $____________.
You previously provided the County with your irrevocable notice of resignation from the
County based upon your participation in the VSIP program. As a condition for receiving
the separation payment, you are required to execute this waiver form. Execution of this
waiver form acknowledges your concurrence with the terms set forth in the VSIP
documents, including but not limited to the Election Form previously submitted by you,
and the terms and conditions set forth below:
resigning or made any representations to you (other than in the official Program
document and related written materials) about the Program or about benefits or
programs that the County might or might not offer in the future.
regular employment with the County, including special districts and agencies where
the Board of Supervisors also serves as the Board of Directors, for a period of two
years from your date of separation under the VSIP, unless a Department Head
requests an exemption from this requirement from the Human Resources
Department for the County.
against the County, which arose or could have arisen out of your employment or
resignation of employment with the County. These claims, include, for example,
claims in tort or contract, claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (29
U.S.C. §621 et. seq.), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000e et.
seq.), the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §12101 et. seq.), any other
federal, state, or local statutes or laws, and claims arising under the County policies
and/or collective bargaining agreements. Your release does not include any claims
within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Workers Compensation Appeals Board or any
claims that cannot lawfully be released by private agreement.
extend to unknown claims. Specifically, Section 1542 of the California Civil Code
states as follows:
A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does
not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of
executing the release, which if known by him or her must have
materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.
For the purposes of implementing a full and complete release and discharge of the
County, you expressly waive and relinquish all rights and benefits afforded by
Section 1542 of the California Civil Code and acknowledge that the release is
intended to include and discharge all claims which you do not know or suspect to
exist related to your employment with the County at the time you execute this letter.
wrongful treatment by the County.
the State of California.
You are advised to consult with your own attorney before signing this letter
PLEASE READ THIS LETTER CAREFULLY. IT INCLUDES A RELEASE OF ALL
KNOWN OR UNKNOWN CLAIMS.
I hereby agree to the terms and conditions set forth above. I acknowledge that I have
been advised to review this letter agreement with counsel.
Here is the response I received from MY Dept's ASO II-
From what I understand, it does not exclude you from the litigation, it just does not invite you to sue the county ;o) They addressed the issue at the board today and you can watch the item on the web.
From: Ron Franceschi Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:36 PMTo: TERRY LOVOLDSubject: RE: VSIP Offer - March 16, 2010
Thanks Terry-I have to think about the Waiver Form-It could have big financial impact on my health care cost-If it excludes me from the SCARE v. the County litigation.
From: TERRY LOVOLD Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:19 PMTo: Ron FranceschiSubject: VSIP Offer - March 16, 2010
Please see attached VSIP Offer letter and let me know if you have any questions.
Does this change any thing?
This is the paragraph of interest that looks exactly like a settlement of all known claims at this time, including the one you are involved with.
You hereby release the County from all known or unknown claims you may have against the County, which arose or could have arisen out of your employment or resignation of employment with the County. These claims, include, for example, claims in tort or contract, claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (29 U.S.C. §621 et. seq.), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000e et.
and/or collective bargaining agreements.
This is a known claim and by its very language, you are releasing the County from all known claims by settling. I would suggest contacting the attorney who is representing the County in writing and asking point blank if you would be releasing the County in the current action by accepting the settlement. I would require them to put their answer in writing as well if they said you weren't settling the current case.
Attorneys have been known to lie on occasion.
Never, trust me....
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