Occasionally, employers will require employees to sign a non-compete contract during their employment. However, the one thing they cannot do is withhold your last paycheck if you fail to sign one. The Kentucky Wage and Hour statute says you can’t withhold an employee’s final paycheck for any reason. If a company does, they subject themselves to double liquidated damages (that means you can sue for double damages), plus attorney fees.
If you’re ever asked to sign any kind of document at work, you should take it home, read it thoroughly, and ask an attorney go read it as well. The document could be a non-compete, severance agreement, or some other last chance agreement. These types of documents are usually written in large single spaced paragraphs with lots of provisions making them difficult to understand. You want to make sure they’re not trying to take away certain rights or benefits, so always read a document thoroughly. Often times, severance agreements will ask the employee to look over the document with an attorney, so you can approach your employer by saying your attorney suggested specific changes to a document.
If you’re actually in the process of being fired, there’s no need to rush to sign anything. (It’s not like they can fire you faster or harder.) Frequently, the reason terminated employees are asked to sign anything is for some sort of severance agreement where the employer wants the employee to waive their right to sue, in exchange for either being paid some amount of money or agreeing not to fight an unemployment claim.
If you’re handed any sort of document at work and are asked to sign it, always read it over thoroughly. Make sure you’re not signing away important rights or benefits. Ask an attorney for help when necessary. It can be difficult to approach your employer with your concerns, especially if you’re being let go.
If you feel you’ve been unfairly treated by your employer, or given a document to sign that you’re unsure of, please contact the Cassis Law Office at (502) 736-8100 to see how we can help.
Photo credit: Phil Whitehouse (Flickr, Creative Commons)