Almost all employment in the United States is “at-will,” meaning you can quit, and companies can fire you without cause. This also means that except in a few situations, you’re not entitled to any severance payments if the company terminates you–even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
Companies that offer severance generally require you to sign a “general release” that basically says, “in exchange for this money, which we don’t legally have to give you, you agree not to sue us, say bad things about us, or disclose company secrets.”
For most people, that’s a fair offer–and understandably. Severance gives you a cushion where you can pay your bills while you job hunt and keeps you from having to move into your mother-in-law’s basement.
However, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) just released a new ruling that bans confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses in severance agreements for employees covered under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Who is covered? Non-management employees, so your general releases for your management employees are probably okay. (Double-check with your employment attorney).
To read more, click here: What’s New In Severance Agreements? A Lot Apparently