This review list is intended to educate you about the subject of this document and to aid you in its preparation. Any employment termination interview should be focused on obtaining the employee’s signature on this form. The objective is self-evident: to avert future claims, litigation, and combative conduct.
Companies are not required to give severance or other benefits upon termination. The advantages are being granted for humanitarian reasons and to protect the Company. It simply makes obvious that if the Company grants a benefit, the consideration is that the individual would be relieved of future troubles. This paper satisfies that requirement.
Your best chance of having this signed and obtaining the leverage necessary to avert a future litigation is during the termination meeting itself. Present the Release when necessary, during discussions about severance and associated topics; obtain two signatures; deliver one to the employee. When signed, excuse yourself from the meeting; obtain a duplicate or copies and secure them in a previously agreed upon location by another employee or yourself (the Accounting Office is an appropriate place). This is to avoid “buyer’s remorse” or second thoughts regarding the Employee’s signing. It is now complete.
If you are unable to obtain signature, we recommend that you give no termination or severance payments until this is accomplished. Generally, this affects the context of the conversation, and you will obtain the signature. In those instances where I did not obtain the signature at that time, I halted the meeting, removed the employee (now ex-employee) from the premises, and advised the individual contact me by phone if their mind changed. Once I was no longer on the premises, I received a handful of calls but never settled termination conditions and, as a result, was never required to pay severance. No litigation has been filed as a result of this inability to obtain the signature. As a result, from a business standpoint, we propose that you remain adamant about demanding the Release.
Once you have the signature, which you almost always will, your duty becomes to assist the Employee in recovering from the awful news. To do this, highlight that the termination was based on systemic concerns, not the employee, unless the evident circumstances of the situation suggest otherwise.
The worst moment to terminate an employee is on a Friday afternoon, when the person has the whole weekend to lament. The optimal time to terminate is early in the week at the end of the day, so that both the terminator and terminated may return home and prepare for the next business day. The issue of corporate property is always a minefield. Companies have resorted to escorting employees out and packing their belongings. This is for a good purpose. This is a decision that you must make for yourself.
- Obtain two signed originals; present one to the employee and retain one for your records. Remove yours immediately upon receipt, as indicated previously.
- While this is a difficult task, it is management’s responsibility. Nothing can compensate for the agony caused by termination, even if it is more prevalent these days, and as a consequence, the individual suffers less guilt as a result of the occurrence. Make every effort to maintain the individual’s dignity so they can heal swiftly and continue living their lives. Whatever you do, do not point the finger at the employee.
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Employee Final Release
IN CONSIDERATION of the payment to me of the sum of $ ____________________ receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I, __________________, on behalf of myself, my heirs, administrators and assigns (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Releasor”) hereby release and forever discharge, its parent, subsidiaries and affiliates and each of its and their respective officers, directors, employees, servants and agents, and their successors and assigns (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Releasee”) jointly and severally from any and all actions, causes of action, contracts and covenants, whether express or implied, claims and demands for damages, costs, interest, loss or injury of every nature and kind whatsoever arising, which I may heretofore have had, may now have or may hereinafter have and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, all claims in any way relating to the hiring of, the employment by or the termination of employment of the Releasor by the Releasee and I hereby specifically covenant, represent and warrant to the Releasee that I have no further claim against the Releasee for or arising out of my employment, or separation from the Company, or terms of such employment or employment separation by the Releasee; employee benefit plans whether or not arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”); any discrimination claim whether or not arising under any local, state or federal law or regulation, public policy or common law (including, with limitation, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act); or any state, federal or local statute, regulation, public policy, contract or tort principle in any way governing or regulating my employment, or termination, or terms of employment or termination by the Releasee.
It is expressly agreed and understood that this Agreement is a general release. Nothing contained in this Agreement is a waiver of any rights or claims (including any which may arise under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act) that may arise after the date of execution by me or which, as a matter of law, cannot be released or waived.
It is understood that the giving of the aforementioned consideration is deemed to be no admission of liability on the part of the said Releasee, said liability in fact being denied.
Therefore, I have executed this Release by signing this Agreement on ______________, in the presence of the witness whose signature is shown below.
Employee Final Release
This review list is provided to inform you about this document in question and assist you in its preparation. The focus of any job termination interview should be to gain the individual’s signature to this document. The purpose is self-evident: avoid later claims, lawsuits, contentious behavior, and the like.
Companies have no affirmative obligations to provide severance or other benefits after termination. The reason for the benefits being granter are humanitarian and to protect the Company on the other. It only makes sense that if the Company is granting a benefit, the consideration is to receive relief from future problems from that individual. This document accomplishes that purpose.
Your best chance of getting this signed, and picking up the attendant leverage to avoid a future lawsuit, is on the spot early in the termination meeting. Present the Release as required to discuss severance and related matters; get two copies signed; give one to the Employee. When signed, excuse yourself from the meeting; get a copy or copies made and have those put away securely by another employee or yourself in a previously decided upon location (the Accounting Office is an appropriate place). The purpose of this is to prevent “buyer’s remorse” or second thoughts by the Employee about signature. Now it is done.
If you do not get signature, we suggest you then offer no termination or severance benefits until that is done. In most cases, that alters the framework of the discussion and you will get the signature. In those cases in which I have not gotten the signature at that point, I stopped the meeting, removed the employee (now former employee) from the premises, and suggested the individual contact me by phone if they changed their minds. Once off the premises, I got a couple of calls but never resolved termination terms and, accordingly, never had to pay for severance. No lawsuits resulted from this failure to get the signature. Accordingly, from a business point of view, we recommend you stand firm on requiring the Release.
Once you do get the signature, which you will in the vast majority of cases, your mission becomes to help the Employee heal themselves from the bad news. To do this, emphasize that termination related to overall issues not the employee themselves, unless this approach is dictated against by obvious facts in the case.
The worst time for termination is Friday afternoon when the employee has the weekend to fret over it. The best time is early in the week at the end of the day so both the terminator and terminated can go home afterwards and get ready for the next business day. The question about Company property is always a tricky one. Many companies have resorted to escorting people out and packing up their goods. There is good reason for this. You have to make this decision for yourself.
1. Get two originals signed; give one to the employee and keep one for your files. Remove yours immediately, as stated above, upon receipt.
2. Although this is a tough thing to do, it is management’s job to do. Nothing can sugar coat the pain inflicted by termination, though it is more common these days and there is less shame from the event for the individual as a result. Do your best to preserve the individual’s dignity so they can heal quickly and move on with their life. Whatever you do, don’t blame the employee.