Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.
It is completely normal for an employer to try and get an employee to sign a severance agreement and leave. It is, in fact, common.
Could there be some underlying basis for the employer to be worried? Sure. Employers that are intentionally discriminating against someone based on race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA
use would love to have them accept a severance and sign a release of claims so that they don't have to face any sort of lawsuit from that person.
Does that mean though that every employer that offers severance has engaged in this sort of discrimination
? No. I'd say the numbers would be less than 1% of employers that offer severance have any underhanded basis for it. Most simply want to have a signed release so that the break in the employment is clean and there is no concern about future dealings with that employee.
So, you really have to consider your personal situation and other facts that you may not have mentioned thus far. The desire to have you sign a release, alone, is not going to be sufficient to demonstrate any sort of claim. You'd need to have some suspicion of discrimination through other facts, like comments or differing treatment against you as compared to others based on one of the factors I mentioned above.