From the “silent exit” to increased layoffs, more and more people are leaving their previous jobs. For many, leaving a company is a good understanding — but sometimes a misconduct or other worrying event makes you want to consult an employment lawyer.
TikTokers like Ryan (@attorneyryan) are helping the average viewer become more aware of their employment rights, but in a new video, the employment attorney warns viewers about something they should never do when leaving a workplace that abuses them.
“I just had to turn away another client because there was literally nothing I could do for him, and he made a critical mistake that you’ve probably made on every job you’ve worked on,” he explained.
“Just because your boss or HR says you have to sign something doesn’t make it true. You don’t have to sign anything if you get fired,” Ryan continued. “You don’t have to sign anything when you quit. They say yes, but they are liars. They’re not lawyers, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
That said, Ryan added that if a lawyer representing your employer is also pressuring you to sign something, you should remain skeptical – just because he’s a lawyer doesn’t mean he has your best interests at heart.
“If a company lawyer says you have to do this, please understand that the lawyer works for the company – they’re trying to screw you,” he added. “Once you sign that termination agreement and take the money, you’re done — I can’t help you anymore.”
@attorneyryan PSA — Don’t sign anything you don’t understand! #knowyourrights ♬ O-Ton – The labor lawyer
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Ryan said: “It is common for employers to require signatures on various documents when separating. Often it is harmless, sometimes the employer tries to make it quick. You should not sign any documents you do not understand, and you should not take the company’s word for what each document means. Check contracts carefully before signing them.”
He then identified common “tricks” employers might include in these documents, including confirming that you received the correct amount of your final payment (even if you didn’t), waiving your right to pay a small/ not suing for severance, and trying to do so leads you to say you have intentionally quit when you have not done so.
“You should check your payslip before agreeing that they paid you properly,” he shared. “It’s best to confirm that payment has been received for all hours worked and your deductions are correct. You should always review waivers with an attorney. It should be backed by payment in the form of severance or severance pay (do not waive your rights for free).”
Ryan explained that signing a document stating it was a “voluntary separation” could affect your ability to receive unemployment benefits if you get fired.
“You should not sign documents that you do not understand and you should consult a lawyer before waiving important rights,” he concluded.
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*Initial publication: March 4, 2023 8:22 am CST
Charlotte is a chronic online culture journalist with bylines in outlets like Insider, Rolling Stone, Dazed, VICE, and The Independent.