Should I sign separation agreement?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Should I sign separation agreement?

I have been laid of from my job as Regional Operations manager on 10/26 under a work force reduction effort. The company went through a change in CEO’s 2 month ago. I reported directly to the former CEO until 9/17. I have received an excellent performance review by the former CEO with a 4 out of 5 rating, with 5 being the best rating 2 month ago, together with a 3 raise. I am now without health insurance.I was laid off together with 5 other employees, all over 40 years of age to reduce the workforce from 350 to 345 employees, of which an estimated 60% are over 40 years of age. I did nothing wrong. Performed my job well, no sick days, no missed days or coming in late. Should I sign the separation agreement with an offer of 1 month pay or is there a possible claim for age discrimination?

Asked on November 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is a possible claim for age discrimination, but based on what you write, it is not a very strong one. You indicate that 60% of the company are over 40 years of age; with that high a percentage of older employees, it is not particularly unlikely or indefensible that the 5 who were laid off--5 out of 345, or around 1.5% of the company--might be older. While statistically one would have expected 2 of the 5 of you to be under 40 (i.e. 40% of those laid off, to reflect the percent of those in the company age 39 and younger), it's not an unreasonable stretch that depending on what other criteria were involved (e.g. function or job titles or duties; department(s); etc.) that all 5, instead of 3 of 5, would be 40 or older. Had the company been majority under 40, you'd have a much stronger claim; but with majority being over 40, what you describe does not particularly show discrimination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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