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Legal Insights
Steve Hirschfeld Talks Separation Agreements on SHRM News
11.22.2016

Steve Hirschfeld is quoted in the SHRM News article titled, “The Practicalities of Compiling Separation Agreements.” The piece dissects the modern separation agreement and looks at issues including: if agreements are really needed; elements to include; the enforceability of documents, including issues with noncompetes; and recourse for when an employee refuses to sign.

When asked if a separation agreement is needed, Hirschfeld commented:

"As a rule, I only insist on one if it's a layoff situation. Beyond that, it's a judgment call. Maybe the company is concerned about the circumstances behind the dismissal or the employee has raised legal issues. (In most cases) companies use them because they're risk-adverse."

Regarding enforceability, Hirschfeld cautioned that separation agreements need to be enforceable where employees actually work, rather than where a company is headquartered, adding:

"Every state is going to look at jurisdictional differences on case-by-case basis."

When dealing with an employee who refuses to sign a separation agreement, Hirschfeld noted that there is not much an employer can do, as the employee is not under any obligation to agree with terms proposed, commenting:

"If the employee won't sign, the company has no recourse. (The business) can offer more money or something like that, but if the company has a strong case [for dismissal], there's little risk of a lawsuit."

Hirschfeld adds that the best strategy for separation agreements is to opt for a streamlined model:

"Some agreements are so long and convoluted. Keep it to a minimum. Keep it short and crisp, no more than three pages. For example, if the noncompete isn't enforceable in the state in question, don't include it."

To read the full article on SHRM News’, please click here.

 

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