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Will I be at risk if I sign a settlement agreement from my employer?

Tacoma, WA |

My employer is offering a settlement on a grievance my union & I filed regarding an involuntary disciplinary transfer with lower wages. They are giving me want I asked for, to restore my seniority and wages but I have to sign releasing my rights. There is a boiler plate of jargon that concerns me but

In exchange for the financial consideration set forth herein, and for other valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, Employee, on behalf of herself and any descendants..... representatives or assigns, hereby releases ..... and in their corporate capacities, from any liability or damages, including without limitation, continuing contract rights and damages for emotional distress, defamation, rights of privacy, and/or discrimination, arising out of or by reason of Employee's employment relationship with the Employer, including, without limitation, any claims arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq.; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; the Washington State Law Against Discrimination, Ch. 49.60 RCW; the Washington Age Discrimination Statute, RCW 49.44.090; the collective bargaining agreements between .... and any other federal, state and local laws or ordinances and any common law claims now or hereafter recognized. For the purpose of implementing a full and complete release of the Employer and its directors, .... in their corporate capacities. Employee expressly acknowledges that this Agreement is intended to include in its effect, without limitation, all claims, whether known or should be known or should have been known, provided that neither party is releasing the other from the terms of this Agreement, and either party may bring an action to enforce this Agreement.

Older Workers Special Protections. The release of claims set forth in paragraph four (regarding the RIF process) above is specifically intended to include, without limitation, the release of any and all claims arising under the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Employee agrees and understands as follows:

A. Employee has carefully read this entire Agreement, including the provisions related to release of claims, and understands such provisions;

B. Employee does not waive any rights or claims that arise after the date of execution of this Agreement;

C. Employee waives her claims, including claims under ADEA, in exchange for valuable consideration, including without limitation the consideration set forth in paragraph one above. (withdraw and not go to arbitration)

I am worried that at 53 years old I may be putting myself at risk if I sign this. The reason for the discipline was never determined in arbitration (their lawyer investigated) and instead of going to arbitration they offered this to me. I was harassed for 2 years and finally accused of misconduct and this is the end result.

When this occurred I had just returned from 3 weeks FMLA and I have on file a medical condition that requires treatment. My absences for medical appts. was an issue and request for religious observance was denied but was approved for co-workers.

What should I do?

Attorney Answers 1


Do NOT sign anything that you do not have YOUR OWN LAWYER review.

My standard disclaimer: I am not offering legal advice, assume I do not know the law in your state and that I am just making suggestions for starting points for when you do speak with an attorney. Do NOT rely on anything I write and contact a lawyer in your area immediately after reading my posting.

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