Last Chance Agreements can’t release future claims!

I have seen it many times.  Employers of union workers frequently ask the employee to sign a last chance agreement in order to keep their job.  These documents include promises by the employee that he/she will obey all work rules going forward and if they don’t, they’ll be fired.  They also usually include a provision that says that the employee will waive all rights to sue, including for what might happen after they sign.  I’ve always been bothered by those terms since it is the general rule that releases can only release past (i.e., not future) conduct.

Well the Sixth Circuit (we are in the 2nd Circuit, but this case can be influential for Connecticut employees) has come to the rescue.  As reported by Ellen Simon’s Employee Rights Post, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down that provision of a Last Chance Agreement.  She explains this case very well.  The good news for Connecticut employees is that if they have signed such an agreement and subsequently are fired, they still have the right to sue.  A further takeaway could be that an employer that fires you for not signing such an Agreement could be violating your common law right not to be fired for reasons that violate Public Policy.  Stay tuned!

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1 Comment

  1. Fernando Hernandez says:

    Where would you place (in comparison to a last chance agreement, forced or not by the employer) a warning tendered by the employer to an employee stating thereat that further violation to a certain rule infringed originally, which provoked such warning, would gain said employee a permanent separation from employment? Is it not true that progressive discipline is in itself one of the tools the employer has to try to correct the employee’s improper conduct at the work place? Under such conditions the employee’s only alternative to question the employer’s action is through arbitration, provided, of course that there is a c.b.a. which contains an arbitration clause, and any award confirming the discharge would be subject to a review in court for vacatur of the award if it does not draw its essence from the c.b.a. and other judicial criteria for setting aside such award. On the other hand, I would like you to refer any case you may know where an employer has discharged an employee for no signing an LCA. Thank you so much!

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