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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5571
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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I worked at an public university for 18 years with good

Customer Question

I worked at an public university for 18 years with good performance reviews and positive relations with students. I went on a yearlong prestigious fellowship for one year and when I returned I had a new supervisor who never supported me and believed misrepresentations and unsupported gossip by staff members about me and sabotaged my relationship with the supervisor and my staff members.The following summer after one year back on the campus (2011) the supervisor wrote a poor performance review and when I went to have the review meeting with him he had an HR representative present and they informed me that I could accept the performance review or resign from the position as I am an at-will employee.I could not afford legal representation and was referred to a law firm which took my case for $250. Unfortunately I was not represented well and agreed to an offer of 6-months salary. I had asked for at least 2 years salary given my strong performance record and accomplishments over the 18 years as an administrator and I had asked that I resign effective in September 2012 which would have allowed me to receive full benefits as an employee including a higher pension and fully paid medical benefits.I was forced to resign and financially I have been adversely affected as my husband is disabled and receives disability benefits. Given my long standing and strong record for 18 years, is there anyway to sue the institution and minimally be given the 8 months needed to receive a higher pension (for 20 years of service) and other benefits for 20+ years of service?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  John replied 11 months ago.

Did you sign a release of claims, which is generally required when receiving such severance?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I will need to check the document but if I did would that mean that I cannot file a claim against the institution, and if so are there any other options?
Expert:  John replied 11 months ago.

Unfortunately that is the case - you couldn't make a claim because you would have released the university from liability for any and all claims that would have arisen out of your employment in exchange for the severance payment. There would be no other option in regard to getting recourse from the university. You could ask the university again for more severance, but there would be little to no incentive for them to do so because the release; i.e., they have nothing to gain by giving you more.

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