Can I Sue for Overtime after Signing Separation/Release Agreement?
I was asked to resign from my recent employer. I was offered 3 weeks severance pay. I feel I have been incorrectly classified as an exempt employee and therefore am owed overtime (equivalent to more than 3 weeks of pay). I heard that by signing the separation/release agreement, I am only waiving my ability to sue in California court, not Federal court. So in essence, I can still sign the agreement, get the 3 weeks of severance, and sue for overtime. Is this true?
Actual agreement looks like it was copied and pasted from here: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1511737/000119312512201585/d307868dex1017.htm
2 Answers from Attorneys
Absoslutely not true. If you believe you are owed overtime pay, DO NOT sign the agreement. The Civil Code Section 1542 waiver will be upheld in court. In addition, if you have an overtime claim, you wouldn't sue in federal court, but the issue of state v. federal court is irrelevant to a full release of any and all rights, whether known or unknown. There is, however, a CA law that prevents an employee from waiving undisputed "wages" (includes overtime.) Call an employment law attorney to discuss.
I agree with the previous answer. Do NOT sign this release without speaking to an experienced California employment attorney. You should discuss your potential claims with the attorney, and, among other things, you should have a candid conversation with the attorney regarding how the offered severance payment compares with your potential recovery from a lawsuit against the company.
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