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Don't Get Caught by Your Release

September 2006
Employment Law Notes
Business owners, managers, human resource professionals, and in-house counsel know that one way to sleep easy at night is to get a release of claims and covenant not to sue from a departing employee. In all cases, the employee must be given something in exchange for signing the Agreement, such as severance pay, but the resulting peace of mind from knowing the employee can’t come back and sue is considered worth the price. What if you awoke one day to learn that your release of claims was not valid because it didn’t comply with the Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)? That nightmare was recently visited upon IBM by the Ninth Circuit in Syverson v. International Business Machines Corp.