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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5733
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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Florida- at will, no employment contract, no requirement in

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Florida- at will, no employment contract, no requirement in employee handbook - Can an employer single out one employee, requiring that person to sign a termination agreement before obtaining severance, when this is a practice that was never used before and a policy change was never announced?
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

Answering your specific question - There is nothing inherently unlawful about requiring an employee to release claims against the company in exchange for receiving severance. Severance payments are not mandatory on the part of the employer, thus the employer may condition severance on obtaining a release of claims (excluding unemployment and workers comp charges) from the employee. The employer could also choose to give some employees severance and not to others. As the entire nature of severance (and employment in general) is "at will", then there are really no restrictions on the matter. Lastly, to me this signifies that the employer believes it may have liability to this particular employee for whatever reason. But, otherwise, there is nothing unlawful about the particular practice of requiring one "at will" employee of many to release claims; but not others.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you - just looking for a little leverage given the abbreviated time period - no time for a lawsuit to run its course. My now former employer knows that I know things that could hurt him if these became public knowledge or known to third parties that could affect the transition process, but the exposure time is short. The sale/transaction will be complete within the time for an answer. I deserve the severance, but I also deserve my life back after all these years. So, I will move on.

My best thought for you given all this is to negotiate as best a deal you can. If you could really throw a monkey wrench into their plan to sell/transition, then they very well may be willing to pay out more.

Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Thanks
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