If I sign the separation agreement have I lost my rights to bring an age discrimination suit?

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If I sign the separation agreement have I lost my rights to bring an age discrimination suit?

I am over 60 years old and have just been laid off along with several others in my department. The reason they gave is that they are moving the “headcount” overseas to support international growth. However, my customer, the only customer I support is in the US. And the customer remains our largest customer. I have received good reviews and bonuses each year and have been a good employee for the 2 years I have been with this business. They are now having me train others in my department, one of which was in my office and has not been let go. He is being allowed to work from home. They are moving my work to others in the department. I suspect that the reason I have been singled out is because my compensation is high and they just don’t want to pay. They of course are asking me to sign a separation agreement and waiver to receive severance pay. Are there any age discrimination actions with the above scenario? What if they then hire someone else to do my job? If I sign the separation agreement, have a lost my rights to bring suit?

Asked on December 27, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, I would have to read the entire separation agreement that you are writing about with respect to your soon to be former employer to comment upon its appropriateness and your ability to bring an age discrimination lawsuit or not if you signed it. As such, it is best to have a labor attorney review it in detail before signing it.

With that being said, based upon what you have written, it appears that you would not be required at all to sign the separation agreement under the laws of most states in this country. Most times the employer simply has the employee sign a document stating what payment he or she is getting in the end as well as knowledge that certain benefits would be ending upon the end of the employment.


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