Draft Severance Agreement in Delaware for Software & IT Services Business (2021)
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I recently accepted a voluntary severance package from my employer and have been asked to sign a severance agreement. I am curious if this agreement can be signed digitally, as I am not currently in the same city as my employer. I am looking for advice on the legalities of digital agreements and any potential risks associated with signing a severance agreement digitally.
Answered Mar 3, 2021
In 1999 the California Legislature enacted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (the “UETA”), Civ. Code, §§ 1633.1 et seq., which provides that when a law requires a record to be in writing or requires a signature, an electronic record or signature satisfies the law. The law requires that any contract entered into between two parties may not be denied legal enforceability simply because of the use of an electronic signature.
This has also be upheld in the employment law setting in some case law.
I recently left my job of five years and was offered a severance agreement. I am now concerned about the confidentiality of the terms of the agreement, as I am worried that the terms of the agreement could be shared with other potential employers. I am seeking legal advice to understand my rights and obligations regarding the confidentiality of the severance agreement.
Answered Mar 3, 2021
In most cases, a severance agreement will have a confidentiality provision included. However, even if there is a confidentiality agreement, there are some instances where that confidentiality may be broken. For instance, in the case of a court order requesting the release of information or a government agency, such as the IRS or the state taxing or unemployment office, an employer may have to release information. There are also laws that prohibit the release of certain private information.
In your case, it sounds as if your employer didn't include a confidentiality provision in the severance agreement, and for contracts, the general rule is that if a provision isn't included in the contract, it's not included in the contract. That being said, you may want to contact the employer and ask what the employer's policy is regarding the release of information to potential employers that you may be seeking to work with.
There are also two laws that you may want to consider speaking to a NC-licensed attorney about. They are the following:
1.§ 1-539.12. Immunity from civil liability for employers disclosing information.
"(a) An employer who discloses information about a current or former employee's job history or job performance to a prospective employer of the current or former employee upon request of the prospective employer or upon request of the current or former employee is immune from civil liability and is not liable in civil damages for the disclosure or any consequences of the disclosure."
2. § 14-355. Blacklisting employees.
"If any person, agent, company or corporation, after having discharged any employee from his or its service, shall prevent or attempt to prevent, by word or writing of any kind, such discharged employee from obtaining employment with any other person, company or corporation, such person, agent or corporation shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00); and such person, agent, company or corporation shall be liable in penal damages to such discharged person, to be recovered by civil action. "
You can find more detailed information here:
Source - https://www.labor.nc.gov/workplace-rights/employee-rights-regarding-time-worked-and-wages-earned/job-reference-and-0
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