Is it legal to put a disclaimer on the back of a payroll check that states when you cash the check you are relishing your rights to sue?

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Is it legal to put a disclaimer on the back of a payroll check that states when you cash the check you are relishing your rights to sue?

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most situations, a disclaimer like that on any check for a debt which is due anyway is not enforceable. The issue is, if party A owes party B money already--for hours worked; for goods sold or services render; in repayment of a loan; really for any reason--then if A pays B the money A is supposed to pay anyway, there is no "consideration" for any agreement. That is, for an agreement to be binding--including an agreement to not sue--the party giving up a right (such as the right to not sue) must get something in return. But if you're only getting something you're owed anyway and no additional money or anything else of value, then the person is not really getting anything; they're only getting what's due them anyway. And that does not provide consideration for an agreement.

It's impossible to give an absolute or blanket answer, since circumstances matter; but normally, this kinds of disclaimers, when on a check that someone is owed in any event, are not effective.


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