As the workforce in America continues to evolve, older employees regularly find themselves at a significant disadvantage the workplace. No matter how dedicated and involved a person is in developing business practices and technology, it is always difficult to remain fluent in these changes as a person ages.
This is normal, but still difficult to process and navigate for thousands of aging employees throughout the country. In many cases, a workplace may even violate the rights of a worker based on his or her age. When this occurs, the employee should take direct action to address the issue and protect his or her priorities.
One of the most commonly frustrating and confusing issues surrounding age discrimination in the workplace involves the ability of an employee to waive his or her rights to protection from age discrimination in return for a severance package or other similar benefits. While this may be a wise move for an employee, depending on the circumstances, it is never wise to sign away carefully protected rights without a detailed understanding of the issue.
Why waive your age discrimination rights?
If an employer asks an employee to waive his or her rights in order to receive severance or some other benefit, an employee may choose to do so. However, the employee should understand the implications of this waiver, and the waiver itself must meet certain standards.
A valid waiver of age discrimination rights must meet certain standards in order to hold up in court.
- The waiver must be in writing, and must be clearly legible and understandable
- The waiver may only apply to the specific rights it mentions
- The waiver must not affect future rights or privileges
- The employer must advise the employee to seek out appropriate legal counsel to assess the terms of the waiver
- The waiver must allow at least 21 days for consideration and seven days to revoke the agreement entirely.
Is waiving your age discrimination rights a good fit for you?
In many cases, waiving your age discrimination rights is simply the path to a proper severance package in the modern business environment. However, not all waivers are fair or necessary, and may create unforeseen conflicts without careful consideration.
Before you choose to waive your rights in the workplace, make sure that you understand the terms of the agreement, including any changes you choose to make. You may not get a chance to regain these rights once you waive them, so it is important to make sure that the consideration you receive in return is truly worth the sacrifice.