Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Severance Agreements Go Too Far

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Severance Agreements Go Too Far

Article excerpt

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is cracking down on overly restrictive employee severance agreements, particularly those the agency claims violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VII prohibits all employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Recently, the EEOC sued CVS Pharmacy, claiming that the broad provisions of its severance agreements violated Title VII. According to the EEOC, CVS attempted to "buy employee silence" of possible discrimination by requiring them to sign the agreement in exchange for severance benefits.

The five-page agreement, set in small print, had extensive provisions dictating employees' actions after they left the company. Some of the sections of the agreement that the EEOC claims violated Title VII included:

* A requirement that employees promptly notify CVS if they are contacted about legal proceedings or by an investigator. …

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