From ‘quiet quitting‘ to an increase in layoffs, more and more people are leaving their previous place of employment behind. For many, when they leave a company, it’s on good terms — but sometimes malpractice or another worrying event that happened makes you want to consult a labor lawyer.
TikTokers like Ryan (@attorneyryan) help the average viewer become more aware of their labor rights, but in a new video, the labor lawyer warned viewers of something they should never do if they’re leaving a workplace that mistreated them.
“I just had to turn away another client because there’s literally nothing that I could do for them, and it’s because they made a critical mistake that you’ve probably made at every job you worked,” he explained.
“Just because your boss or HR says you have to sign something, that does not make it true. You don’t have to sign anything when you’re fired,” Ryan continued. “You don’t have to sign anything when you quit. They say you do, but they’re liars. They’re not lawyers, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
That being said, Ryan also added that you should remain skeptical if a lawyer representing your employer also pressures you to sign something — pointing out that just because they’re a legal professional, doesn’t mean they have your best interests at heart.
“If a lawyer from the company says you have to do that, please understand that lawyer works for the company — they’re trying to screw you,” he added. “Once you sign that severance agreement and take that money, you’re done — I can’t help you anymore.”
@attorneyryan PSA — Don’t sign anything you don’t understand! #knowyourrights ♬ original sound – The Labor Lawyer
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Ryan said, “It is common for employers to request signatures on various documents upon separation. Often it’s harmless, other times the employer is trying to pull a fast one. You should not sign documents you do not understand, and you should not take the company’s word for it when they explain what each document means. Review contracts carefully before signing.”
He then identified common “tricks” employers might include in these documents, including acknowledging you received your final payment in the correct amount (even if you didn’t), waiving your rights to sue in exchange for little/no severance, and trying to get you to say you resigned willfully, even if you didn’t.
“You should scrutinize your paystub before agreeing that they paid you properly,” he shared. “It’s best to confirm payment was received for all hours worked and your deductions are correct. As for waivers of rights to sue, you should always review this with a lawyer. It should be supported by some payment in the form of a settlement or severance (don’t waive your rights for free).”
Ryan explained that if you were fired, signing a document stating it was a “voluntary separation” can hinder your ability to get unemployment benefits.
“You should not sign documents you do not understand and you should consult an attorney before waiving important rights,” he concluded.
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*First Published: Mar 4, 2023, 8:22 am CST
Charlotte is a regular Passionfruit and The Daily Dot contributor with bylines in Insider, VICE, Glamour, The Independent, and more. She holds a Masters’s degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.
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