Why You Should Talk To A Lawyer Before Signing Termination Paperwork
Leaving a job is not always easy. If a company is forcing a termination on an employee, it can be even worse. While it is important to remain calm and act in a professional manner, employees do not have to cooperate with every demand of the employer. Specifically, employees should never sign termination or resignation papers without discussing the paperwork with an attorney.
Types of Termination Paperwork
Typically, employers will offer three types of termination paperwork:
- Statement of termination. This paper will simply state the employee is being terminated. It may or may not state a reason. A signature typically acknowledges only that the information was received. Sometimes, it can indicate the employee agrees with the termination decision.
- Papers outlining further obligations. This type of document could relate to relocation agreements, tuition reimbursement arrangements or other non-wage related items.
- Legal document or General Release. These documents are potentially the most damaging. They could dictate stipulations regarding compensation, future employment or legal action and more.
Possible Consequences of Signing Papers
Signing a document that an employee has not fully read or does not fully understand can have serious consequences in the future. These documents can be legally binding and can impact a person’s ability to earn future income or settle a grievance with the former employer. The employer is looking out for his own best interests when presenting termination documents to an employee. Even if a Human Resources representative encourages an employee to sign or insists the company “never” enforces a specific item, the employee needs to investigate the document further to protect his rights. Signing termination paperwork that hasn’t been reviewed by an attorney can sometimes lead to problems associated with:
- Severance agreements
- Noncompete agreements
- Legal ability to challenge the termination
- Admittance of wrongdoing
These issues can directly affect an employee’s livelihood and lifestyle, and they should be taken very seriously. An employee is not obligated to sign any document provided by the employer. Every person has the right to take time to review paperwork before signing his name to a legally binding document. Once the document is signed, however, it can be difficult to undo the implication of the signature.
If you or a loved one has been terminated or you fear a coming termination, the Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams can help. Contact an experienced attorney for a free, confidential consultation.