Being laid off from a job is enough of a confusing and disheartening experience. Adding to the complexity of severance packages and Separation Agreements is the potential for an age discrimination claim, a prospect that companies go to great lengths to prevent. It is not infrequent for companies to lay off senior workers in favor of younger employees who will cost less to the company. In doing so, companies may open themselves up to an age discrimination claim.
If you believe that you have been laid off due to your age, it is vital to explore your options before signing the Agreement, as a signature often means a release of all potential claims against your employer. The employment attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. have experience in these types of claims and can take the lead in reviewing and negotiating a Separation Agreement.
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act
In response to a 1989 landmark Supreme Court decision, Congress passed the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (“OWBPA”), requiring that a Separation Agreement contain certain provisions and amending the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees 40 years of age or older, to include employee benefits. Specifically, the statute gives a terminated employee a time period in which to review the Agreement before signing and the opportunity to rescind approval of the Agreement subsequent to signing. It ensures that no employee is pressured into signing legal waivers of their rights under the ADEA.
Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) website (http://www.ct.gov/chro/site/default.asp) as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s site (http://www.ct.gov/chro/site/default.asp) provide valuable information and resources on the topic of age, and other types, of discrimination.
In addition, the attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive employment experience and are ready to assist with any issues relating to employment contracts, severance packages, and potential discrimination claims. Should you have any questions, please contact the Maya Murphy office located in Westport at 203-221-3100.