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Offered a severence package in exchange for signing a waiver & release agreement. Can I be used as scapegoat without recourse?

Macomb, MI |

How do I know that the company does not use me as a scape goat?

Also, the reason they gave me for being let go was not having enough years, when in fact, several of my co-workers were hired at the same time or after.

The waiver as follows: "This waiver & release includes, but no limited to, any & all rights or claims, whether know or unkown, I may have under the age discrimination in employment act and any other federal, state, or local, civilw rights laws or regulations, or any common law actions relating to unemployment, employement discrimination, or seperation of my employment. This includes, but not limited to, any claims for breach of employment contract, either express or imply, defamation, slander, libel, wrongful discharge, constructive discharge, or tort-based claims, including, but not limited to, intentional infliction of emotional distress."

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Attorney answers 1

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The waiver and release discharges your employer from any liability claim you may have that arise out of your employment relationship or the termination of your employment. There are a handful of claims that cannot be waived, even if you sign this document, such as a claim for workers compensation benefits. But, generally speaking, if you sign this document, you give up any claim you may have resulting from any that occurred before you sign the severance agreement. If the scapegoating you are referencing consists of defamatory bad-mouthing, attributing errors or faulty decision-making to you, and the publication of these defamatory statements occurred before you sign the severance agreement, your former employer's liablity for those false statements is covered by the waiver and release. Any unprivileged bad-mouthing that occurs after you execute the waiver agreement is not covered by the waiver and release. However, if the severance agreement does not have a reciprocal waiver and release, whereby your former employer releases and waives claims it may have against you that arise out of your employment, your employer is free to pursue claims against you. It is always advisable to try (through negotiations) to get a reciprocal release and waiver, as well as an agreement to refrain from making negative statements about you and your job performance, and a letter of reference, added to the severance agreement.