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There are many circumstances under which an employee and employer part ways.
An employee can choose to leave a job, or the company may make a unilateral decision to end the employment relationship. Whatever the case, the separation should be documented in writing to protect both parties.
For the employee’s benefit, a separation agreement should detail in writing what the employer intends to provide at the parting. These might include the final paycheck, severance pay, pay-out of unused vacation or sick time and/or any continuation of coverage under the company’s health-care plan.
For the employer, an agreement can help protect against some potential lawsuits and clarify what the employee agreed to provide the company when hired. These might include an agreement stating that the employee would not compete directly against the company for a predetermined period, agreements not to disclose proprietary or confidential information and promises to return company property, such as a company-provided laptop or car.
A separation agreement should identify the company and the exiting worker, and it should give the reasons for the departure. While this is especially important when the employee is fired for cause, it’s just as critical when the employee initiates the separation.
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