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Litigating Severance Breaches Just Became Harder

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2023 | Business & Commercial Law

As a business owner, you know that running a business is complicated. To add to that complication, business and commercial law can be archaic, complicated and ever-changing. For example, a recent decision by the NLRB on confidentiality clauses in severance agreements is a full 360 from prior guidance and makes litigating severance breaches much harder.

What is the NLRB?

The NLRB is the National Labor Relations Board, and it is the United State’s independent Federal body empowered to protect employee labor and unionizing rights. In the prior administration, the Board found that broadly written confidentiality clauses in severance agreements (those found in severance packages as part of layoffs) were legal. However, the newly empaneled Board has found that they violate Tampa, Florida, employee rights under Sections 7 and 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act.

Does this affect my business?

Perhaps, but it depends on your Tampa, Florida, business. The Board’s jurisdiction is statutorily broad over private sector businesses that traffic in interstate commerce past minimum economic levels. Essentially, as long as your business is non-governmental, not exclusively agricultural laborer and not subject to the Railway Labor Act (railroads, airlines, etc.), it is likely your business is under the Board’s jurisdiction.

The law now

The decision will be further litigated, and this is not the final word on this issue. However, for now, this is the law, and all business owners should change their severance agreements accordingly. Consult with your outside counsel or general counsel to see what that means specifically for your Tampa, Florida, business.