How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
18284290
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have worked company years. They are relocating the office

Customer Question

I have worked for my company for 15 years. They are relocating the office & laying off the staff. We received a memo in January 2016 saying if we stayed until released by the company (between april & june) we would receive 1 week severance for every year worked plus an additional week if there were no attendance issues.
Now they are telling us that in order to get the severance we must sign a confidentiality agreement. This was never mentioned in the memo referenced above. Can they not pay out the severance if I refuse to sign the agreement?
I'm in California.
thank you
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you this evening.

Absent a contract between the employer and employee, an employment policy, or practice, severance pay is not legally required under either state or federal law. Most severance pay agreements actually contain a confidentiality clause, whereby the employee agrees to preserve the confidentiality of trade secrets and not to take away documents or lists belonging to the employer.

Therefore it is not unlawful for an employer to insist that an employee sign such an agreement to get the severance. A California employer cannot ask an employee to waive claims pertaining to: (1) minimum wage; (2) overtime; (3) unemployment insurance benefits; or (4) Workers' Compensation benefits. A severance agreement containing a general release of claims including any of the above is not enforceable. In some cases, absent specific language, an employer also cannot ask an employee to waive an age discrimination claim.

Other than this however, the employer is well within its rights to insist employees sign the confidentially agreement in order to receive the severance package.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

If you need clarification or additional information, please REPLY, and I'll be happy to assist you further. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts on this site are compensated for our time and expertise, even if you have previously left a deposit.Thank you!

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 9 months ago.

If you need clarification or additional information, please reply, and I'll be happy to assist you. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts on this site are compensated for our time and expertise, even if you have previously left a deposit. Thank you.