And Now Your Severance Agreements Are Probably Unlawful

Your Severance Agreements Are Probably Unlawful

Big News

The National Labor Relations Board is at it again. By “it” we mean flexing their muscles in the workplace to ensure union and non-union workers have the right to exercise their Section 7 rights–broadly, the right to talk about work and your employer. And this NLRB likes to look at things broadly. To wit:

This week, the NLRB decided that the non-disparagement and confidentiality language in severance agreements is unlawful.


A company presented 11 employees with a severance agreement, waiver and release to pay various amounts of severance to furloughed employees if they signed the agreement. They all signed the agreement. The agreement called for the release of claims, broad language against disparagement of the employer and confidentiality about the terms of the agreement. The General Counsel complained that the language restrained and coerced employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights and the NLRB agreed.


The prohibition on non-disparagement and confidentiality rights applies to union employees, non-union employees and, as was the case here, ex-employees. The chilling effect on future Board cooperation in investigations and organization was the Board’s rationale for including ex-employees.

Now what?

The best practice is to update the confidentiality and non-disparagement language from any of your Agreements. We can help. We have scrubbed clean, NLRB approved language we can supply for a fixed fee. Contact us.