The Scoop on the General Release & Agreement

In case you haven’t heard of the General Release and Agreement, we’re here to give you some insight.

Here’s the deal: Let’s say you get laid off and an employer gives you documentation for your signature in exchange for severance. Essentially, the document indicates you’ll waive your rights to sue the company and that you won’t say anything negative about it.

According to a piece in today’s New York Post, this is common and better known as the General Release and Agreement. Gregory Giangrande, chief HR officer at a media company, says it’s “very common for employers to require exiting exmployees to sign in exchange for some consideration.”

He writes in the piece, “It doesn’t mean the company is concerned or guilty of anything. An employer doesn’t want to provide benefits and severance to which a person isn’t ordinarily entitled, only to be sued later on.”

Considering it’s a legal document, he leaves two parting tips: You should “definitely understand your rights and obligations under the agreement before you sign.” And second, seek advice from someone who is familiar with the agreement.