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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5565
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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Am 63 with 8 years at current employer. off effective Dec 31

Customer Question

Am 63 with 8 years at current employer. Laid off effective Dec 31 2015 with 16 weeks severance pay in exchange for non compete and agreement not to sue. Received severance pay Jan 15. On Jan 22 learned of a voluntary early retirement package which was offered to employees on January 15 which would have resulted in 26 weeks of pay and other benefits commonly given retirees. My severance was not treated as a retirement. Did my employer possibly violate The Older Workers Benefit protection Act? I am in Ohio. Are such severance agreements valid in Ohio?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thanks for submitting your question today.My name is John. I have over 13 years of legal and consulting experience in this area. I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

First, such severance agreements are valid anywhere provided they comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act which requires - 1) it is easy to understand, 2) specifically efers to ADA/OWBPA claims waiver, 3) does not waive rights to claims that arise after the release, 4) there is additional and good consideration in exchange for the release, 5) employee is advised to consult with an attorney, and 6) the employee has 21 (45 if mass layoff) days to consider the agreement.

I do not believe you have a OWBPA claim from what you've stated. I do think you have an Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) claim for management failing to tell you a better retirement offer was shortly on the horizon. This is generally considered an ERISA fiduciary violation. But, you'd have to prove they knew that deal was coming, but ignored it and allowed you to take the lesser deal instead. In other words, you have to prove what they knew, which isn't always easy.

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.

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're otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as itis the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.