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I have not signed my severance package letter yet. it is…

I have not signed...

I have not signed my severance package letter yet. it is from my church where i have been an employee for 17 years. it basically states that if i or anyone else associated friends followers say anything negative about the church or the people my severance will be stopped? is this illegal?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

North Carolina

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No mam

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not currently i have the contract in pdf

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Answered in 4 minutes by:
1/17/2018
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,531
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

This is not illegal, nor for that matter is it even uncommon. Essentially, since your employer has not legal obligation to pay any severance at all, they can choose to condition it on you doing or refraining from doing from anything, provided of course that thing is not a crime (i.e. they cant require you to commit tax fraud as a condition of severance).

I hope this answers your question. If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
my assumption then is that i should not agree to this because i can not control what others say. its a ridiculous contract. would you agree that this is not something i should sign?

Normally it is worded such that you can't say anything negative TO anyone else. I have never seen a severance agreement in which the employee promises that OTHER people can't say anything negative because that, of course, would be completely outside of the employee's control and ridiculous as you point out. Are you sure the severance agreement is trying to get you to promise that OTHER people won't say negative things?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
100 % sure no doubt. "you, your family, your close friends, and close supporters"

Is there any way you can provide the full clause? Also, what is it saying will happen if any of these people say something negative?

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Thank you.

So it looks like what may have happened is they pulled a sample severance agreement from online and then added those bolded provisions themselves. No lawyer would have ever drafted that because, as you correctly note, it is completely ridiculous to have to promise what third parties who you have no control over will or will not do. When I initially read your question, I assumed that you meant to say the severance agreement was prohibiting you from making negative statements TO these people.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
anything legal i can do?

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you're asking....

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
its a contract that impossible to be kept. certainly there is something illegal about this

Well, "illegal" is the wrong word. "Ridiculously overbroad" is a more apt term. It's not "illegal" for your employer to propose this contract, it would just be unwise to enter into it because you could be liable for a breach for things that are completely outside of your control. Therefore, I would insist that this clause is modified so that you are only in breach if YOU make a negative statement.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
i will do that. thank you

Again, since an employer doesn't have any legal obligation to pay severance, the law does not limit what conditions they can impose. They could tell you that the agreement becomes void unless you travel to the moon and that wouldn't make it an "illegal" contract, it would just make it a ridiculous one.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
lol..more chances of a moon landing than this !!!

You are very welcome. I would just politely explain to them that you can only control your actions and that since you can't control the actions of third parties you are uncomfortable agreeing to anything that holds you accountable for what they may or may not say.

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Haha

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I hope this has been helpful. Again if there is anything more I can do for you just let me know. It's my pleasure....

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
thanks patrick! have a great night

You as well. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service (using the stars at the top of the page) so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes.

Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,531
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified
Patrick, Esq. and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
sure thing..no problem
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