EEOC Issues Technical Assistance Document Explaining ADEA Waivers to Employees (and Employers)

For those of you who work on the compensation portion of employment agreements or the compensation payout (severance) provisions of employment termination agreements, you should be aware of a recent piece of guidance issued by the EEOC on ADEA waivers in exchange for severance payment agreements.

On July 15, the EEOC held an open hearing on recent developments in the ADEA area. Experts discussed enforcement problems highlighted in several recent cases and the courts’ failures to appreciate the significance of age-based stereotyping. Plaintiffs from several recent cases discussed their experiences. Last, but most significant, in this year of the monster recession, the Commission issued a technical assistance document, in question and answer format, that explains the rights and obligations of terminated employees who waive discrimination claims in exchange for severance pay.

The latter provides a question and answer guide for employees of the views of the EEOC on waivers. In addition to sixteen (16) pages of questions and answers, the guide contains an employee checklist for “What to do When [an] Employer Offers [a] Severance Agreement” and a Sample Waiver Agreement that can be used by employers to achieve an EEOC compliant ADEA waiver.

The materials are very timely given the large numbers of employment terminations and are useful tools for practitioners, employers, as well as employees.