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1. Holding up outplacement services until the employee signs a severance agreement is a best practice.

FALSE

According to the outplacement experts at IMPACT Group and others, it’s unnecessary and even unadvisable to wait for a signed severance agreement before allowing the employee to begin outplacement services. Career transition services should begin as soon as possible, so the employee can visualize and actively pursue a positive or at least neutral transition after the job loss. An employee who is making progress toward a successful transition is less likely to act upon negative feelings.

2. After an employee signs a severance agreement and receives payout, she is still eligible to file a legal claim against her employer under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, or the Equal Pay Act.

TRUE

According to a recent article at SHRM.org, several actions taken by federal agencies “spotlight the risk employers face when they craft severance agreements that require workers to provide something in return for receiving pay or other benefits.” The longtime tender back rule is being disregarded. The tender back rule is the premise that, if you take the money (tender), you can’t sue, unless you give the money back. Some courts have ruled that the tender back rule does not apply under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, or the Equal Pay Act. And the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has punished employers for using severance pay to thwart the efforts of employees coming forward to report employer’s crimes. So a signature on a severance agreement is no “sure thing” in eliminating legal risk. Check out our blog on Severance for more information.

3. Researchers report that any length of joblessness can contribute to dangerous levels of depression.

FALSE

According to the American Psychological Association, researchers Arthur Goldsmith and Timothy Diette found in 2012 that (1) long-term unemployment has large negative effects on mental health, (2) the negative effects are larger for black and Latino individuals, (3) short-term unemployment does not significantly harm mental health, (4) those with more education suffer a larger emotional penalty for being unemployed long term.

A 2014 Gallup poll found that 1 in 5 Americans without a job for a year or more report to have sought treatment for depression. The same study concluded that, the longer you experience unemployment in the United States, the more likely you are to report symptoms of psychological unease.

4. Most HR professionals agree that offering professional outplacement coaching is a moral imperative for employers today.

TRUE

According to a 2020 IMPACT Group study of more than 100 HR professionals, 61% agreed that offering outplacement services – including professional resume writing and career coaching – is a moral imperative for employers today.

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