The DeWitt Difference:
Giving Your Case The Attention You Deserve

Ensuring That Agreements Are In Your Best Interests

When it is time to separate from your employer, you may be presented with several documents to sign. These often will include a severance agreement, a noncompete agreement or both. To ensure that these agreements are not too restrictive and preserve your best interests, you should enlist the assistance of an experienced lawyer before you sign anything.

Having handled a wide variety of employment law matters for over 20 years, I, Michael W. DeWitte, am a trusted advocate in cases involving severance and noncompete agreements. My firm, DeWitt Law, LLC, is based in Columbus, and I work with clients there and in the surrounding areas, taking the time to thoroughly read over every agreement to determine how each will impact their lives going forward.

What To Know About Severance Agreements

Ohio is an at-will employment state, and employment contracts are uncommon, meaning that most employees can be terminated at any time for any legal reason. Severance agreements are not required in any of these situations, and there are no specific terms that must be outlined in such an agreement.

If you are presented with a severance agreement when you are separating from a company, then you are allowed to have your attorney review it before signing anything. While a severance agreement can include compensation and benefits that may be provided, there may also be clauses that involve confidentiality, the waving of the right to sue and more.

What Is A Severance Agreement?

A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee that is entered into when the employee is terminated. The agreement typically provides the employee with a lump sum of money, continued health insurance coverage and other benefits in exchange for the employee’s agreement to release the employer from any claims that the employee may have against the employer.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Signing A Severance Agreement?

There are some drawbacks to signing a severance agreement, including the following:

  • The employee may be giving up their right to sue their employer for any claims that they may have, such as wrongful termination or discrimination.
  • The employee may agree to restrictions limiting their future job opportunities.
  • The employee may not be able to negotiate the terms of the agreement.

It is essential to consider not only the short-term payout of a severance agreement but also what conditions could impact your ability to find your next job.

What Should You Do If You Are Offered A Severance Agreement?

If you are offered a severance agreement, it is important to carefully consider the terms of the contract before signing it. You should talk to an attorney to ensure that you understand the agreement and that signing it is in your best interests.

Your Rights Concerning Noncompete Agreements

A noncompete agreement is often a clause in a severance agreement, or it can be presented to an employee on its own when they are leaving the company. This agreement prevents the employee from working for a competing employer for a set amount of time. If the noncompete is too restrictive or too broad, then obtaining a new job in the field in which you are qualified can be difficult.

I do not let employers take liberties with how the document can be interpreted; I will work on your behalf to make sure that the agreement is fair and that your employer is not taking advantage of you.

Before You Sign, Consult With Me

To further discuss the agreements you are being asked to sign, call my office at 614-762-9641 or send an email. I offer a free case evaluation.