When employees are terminated, they are often given severance agreements as part of the termination process. Severance agreements are legal documents which impose restrictions on both employers and employees. Often, employees are offered payment as part of severance agreements but there may be strings attached. Most severance agreements contain clauses restricting future employment, preventing lawsuits or claims or other restrictions on the employee.
Some severance agreements contain restrictions on disparaging former employers and/or disclosing the terms of the severance agreement to anyone else. In McLauren Macomb, et al., 11 union employees at a hospital were terminated and offered severance agreements with broad confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions. These provisions would have been valid until McLauren but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that the provisions in the severance agreements provided to those 11 employees infringed on their Section 7 rights and were unlawful. It should be noted that this decision does not just impact union employees (even though the 11 employees were in a union).
If you were recently terminated, you may want to speak to a lawyer to determine whether you termination was lawful. If you were presented with a severance agreement as part of your termination you should keep in mind that a severance agreement is a legal document prepared by your employer. A lawyer familiar with employment law issues can go over that agreement with you and suggest changes if they are warranted. The attorneys at Stillman & Associates are happy to speak with you regarding your employment matters.