If you were one of the thousands of employees who were recently laid off, you likely received a severance package. As part of that severance package, you were likely forced to sign a severance agreement. And, included in that severance agreement was likely many, many provisions. Hopefully, you had an attorney look through it and approve it prior to signing it, but if not, the National Labor Relations Board may have given you a potential way out of that St. Petersburg, Florida, severance agreement.
The recent change in NLRB policy
In the prior administration, the Board found that broadly written confidentiality clauses in severance agreements did not violate employee rights. Indeed, the prior empaneled board found they were legal under Sections 7 and 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act. However, the new Board reversed this decision and found the opposite.
Does it apply to my former (or future former) employer?
As with most things in the law, it depends. Congress gave the Board broad private sector jurisdiction over just about every business that does business across state lines. And, in today’s interconnected business environment, that is just about every business. As such, unless your St. Petersburg, Florida, job is governmental or quasi-governmental (school board, government-owned corporation, etc.), you work for an agricultural worker organization, a railroad or an airline, it is likely that your employer (or former) employer is covered by the NLRB.
What does it mean?
Broadly written confidentiality clauses violate Sections 7 and 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which means they are now illegal. This could mean that they are singularly invalid. This could also mean that, depending on how they are used, they could also invalidate an entire severance agreement. It is all about context and use, but you would need to consult a St. Petersburg, Florida, attorney to know for sure.