Is a severance agreement binding if I left the company due to harassement about a disability?

I asked to separate from my employer because I was being harassed by someone in management due to a disability. I reported the problem to the HR dept. multiple times and nothing changed. The stress associated with the harassment was unbearable and at the time I felt leaving the company was my only option. My HR rep told me that the terms of the severance agreement were non-negotiable.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 11, 2015 10:06 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
If you signed a severance agreement with the company, it probably contains your agreement that you will not sue the company for any reason. Read it. There will probably be a paragraph in there containing the names of a lot of different laws, and the entirely of the paragraph says you agree not to sue. If you aren't sure or if you feel you were coerced into signing, or perhaps you were not mentally competent to make such an important decision at the time due to the harassment, then you should speak with an attorney.

And if you haven't signed an agreement, I suggest you speak with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation. Of course HR will say the terms are not negotiable. But if you have something to negotiate with, such as a potential claim for disability discrimination, then it is entirely possible to negotiate no matter what HR said.

To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope there is a good resolution to this situation.

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  Mar 11, 2015 11:25 PM [EST]

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