Atlanta Severance Agreements Lawyer

When laying off employees, many companies offer severance pay in exchange for various promises. For example, a non-solicitation clause prevents laid-off employees from recruiting their co-workers to leave for a different job.

These types of contracts memorialize what the employer and employee agree to do for each other after the employment relationship ends. If you plan to lay off one or several employees in the future, talk to an Atlanta severance agreements lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Sparks Law can draft documents that protect your company and prevent future problems with disgruntled employees.

What is Included in a Severance Agreement?

Along with the names of the employer and employee(s) involved, a severance agreement should include several provisions, such as a description of the severance pay and if it will be paid in a lump sum or installments. Other provisions could address the following:

  • Employee may not compete by taking a job with the company’s competitor within a specified geographic distance
  • Employee cannot solicit other employees away from an employer
  • Employer’s property must be returned or destroyed at the behest of the employer, especially property considered confidential
  • Employee cannot bad-mouth their employer or share trade secrets on the next job
  • Employees should release the employer from future lawsuits (although employer cannot prohibit employee from filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, severance could be withheld for doing so)
  • Inclusion of language required under federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, with additional language if employee is more than 40
  • Method for settling legal disputes
  • If employee breaches the severance agreement, the employer will be awarded attorneys’ fees

If you are facing employee layoffs, put everything in writing. Getting laid off can be an emotionally charged experience, so you need to take legal precautions against any fraudulent claims or other forms of retaliation from employees. A skilled severance agreement attorney at our Atlanta office can draft a document that protects you against future issues in a company layoff.

What Happens if a Severance Agreement is Breached?

A thorough severance agreement should spell out how disputes are to be handled if one party breaches the contract. For example, if the employer stops paying severance installments or if the employee takes a job with a competitor and shares trade secrets, this may constitute a breach.

Many people think that a jury trial is required to settle civil disputes. However, problems can also be resolved through arbitration and mediation. The severance agreement attorneys at Sparks Law can help you decide the most advantageous way to settle these types of disputes.

Waiving the Right to a Jury Trial

The parties to a severance contract can agree to waive a jury trial and let one judge hear the evidence and decide who breached the agreement. This method saves time and expenses associated with paying and sequestering jurors. In some scenarios, this may be favorable for employers, as jurors can be empathetic toward employees if they have been laid off in the past.

Arbitration or Mediation for Disputes

If the issues are minor, the parties may opt for mediation. This method involves a person acting as the mediator and encouraging the parties to come to a suitable resolution on their own. However, mediation is non-binding, so arbitration may be a better choice if the parties are angry and unable to negotiate.

Arbitration is similar to a court proceeding in that evidence and testimony is reviewed by people chosen to judge who is at fault for the breach. Both arbitration and mediation are more cost-effective than a jury trial. Our lawyers are experienced in using arbitration and mediation to settle severance contract disputes in Atlanta, and we can help determine if either strategy is appropriate for your circumstances.

Get Legal Advice from an Atlanta Severance Agreements Lawyer

There are many different contracts involved in running a successful business. Severance agreements are a key part of compensating employees for their loyal service and protecting the employer from any acts of retaliation.

If you are planning or beginning a company layoff, contact an Atlanta severance agreements lawyer. The legal team at Sparks Law can draft comprehensive and enforceable contracts for your business, as well as advise you on any issues that may arise. Give us a call today to discuss.