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Severance Pay / Defacation of Character issues Colorado Colorado

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  • Severance Pay / Defacation of Character issues Colorado Colorado

    I posted this in the COLORADO section but hoping to get feedback here... I appreciate any information or options.

    I am new to the forums and hoping someone can help me or opinons. It appears this forum is has good information and not sure where to turn at this point.

    On April 19th I was released from my employer. Part of the termination was a 3weeks severance package. I was informed if I wanted payment sign the form, return it, once corporate had the form it would be paid within 10 days.

    The form was NO SUE agreement. Basically it implies I can not sue them if for anything if I wanted to get my severance pay. I waited one week as I was not comfortable. I did sign the form and returned it to them on April 26th trying to work in a professional manor. Now as of 3 weeks no payment has been made. I requested information from the vice president of the company and no was responded. Today I was informed by a friend who was let go 2 weeks after me that he did get paid today, and his was less then 2 weeks.

    To add to the matters worse, last Friday, May 14th I was have a drink with 2 clients to let them know what I was doing. They both informed me that the previous employer had contracted them both and meet with one of them face to face. Both informed me the current area manager was, as they put, slandering me. I asked to expalin in detail. The area maanger stated to both that if I started my own company, which I am working towards, that I can not do the work they required legally. Which both said clients said is not true. As of today I was informed by another client of the same statement.

    I have tried to take the high road and be professional. The issues now is this defecation of character? I feel the firm is tying to “scare” my clients into not working with me because they are failing currently.

    Sadly both clients feel I should sue over this issue to protect me long term and they would testify in court.

    I am looking for feedback on the Colorado law aspect of this. I did call an attorney this evening so I hope to have more feedback tomorrow.

    The questions are:
    If provided a severance agreement when released, is the employer legally required to pay if the employee accepts the agreement?

    Is there any merit to “threatening” a suit for defecation or actually filing? Again I am trying to keep a professional aspect. I do not want to drag clients into a court issue. I think it is unprofessional but it seems as though they are pushing me with no options.

    I appreciate any feedback…

    Bkew

    ** Side note, some my clients did release the company from the work when I was termianted. I am sure this was no the plan they had in store.

  • #2
    Um....OP, the term you're looking for is "defamation of character"

    "Defacation" implies (even when spelled slightly incorrectly) something quite, quite different.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sorry for the wrong usage... Frustrated while typing as I was talking with clients getting the specifics. I have decided to pursue legal action. My clients feel it is the best situation for me and them. The projects reach over 2 million dollars of public funding and they do not want it represented in a negative way by the previous firm.
      Last edited by BKEW; 05-18-2010, 09:23 PM.

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      • #4
        If your former employer is actively working to undermine your future employment prospects, as well as making untrue statements, yes, you may well have a cause of action. An attorney can advise you.

        If provided a severance agreement when released, is the employer legally required to pay if the employee accepts the agreement?

        No. All it means is that the agreement you signed is invalid.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dogmatique View Post
          Um....OP, the term you're looking for is "defamation of character"

          "Defacation" implies (even when spelled slightly incorrectly) something quite, quite different.
          Actually, if they're "pooping" all over him, defecation of character might be the right word choice.

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          • #6
            I was cracking up to read that title! Defacation of character; sort of like a "smear campaign."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BKEW View Post
              Sorry for the wrong usage... Frustrated while typing as I was talking with clients getting the specifics. I have decided to pursue legal action. My clients feel it is the best situation for me and them. The projects reach over 2 million dollars of public funding and they do not want it represented in a negative way by the previous firm.

              Oh please, this was not a typo! If you really want to be a big boy in the real world, you need to learn big boy/real world terminology (including how to spell said terminology) first.

              Regarding what you so ineptly call a "NO SUE agreement" - this type of agreement is a standard companion to offered severance pay...so standard that 99% of employers use them when offering severance pay. (The 1% who don't use these agreements are not run by big boys.)

              From what your former employer's clients have told you (and no, they are not your own personal clients, they are in fact and in law, your former employer's clients), it sounds like you have at some point in the past entered into some kind of non-competition and/or non-solicitation agreement with your former employer. If so, then you are legally prohibited from engaging in business activities with your former employer's clients. And your former employer is not defaming you by stating this fact.

              So before you go crying off to an attorney about your former employer pooping on you, find (and read!) that agreement you signed, probably at the time you were hired or some time after that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by eerelations View Post
                Oh please, this was not a typo! If you really want to be a big boy in the real world, you need to learn big boy/real world terminology (including how to spell said terminology) first.

                Regarding what you so ineptly call a "NO SUE agreement" - this type of agreement is a standard companion to offered severance pay...so standard that 99% of employers use them when offering severance pay. (The 1% who don't use these agreements are not run by big boys.)

                From what your former employer's clients have told you (and no, they are not your own personal clients, they are in fact and in law, your former employer's clients), it sounds like you have at some point in the past entered into some kind of non-competition and/or non-solicitation agreement with your former employer. If so, then you are legally prohibited from engaging in business activities with your former employer's clients. And your former employer is not defaming you by stating this fact.

                So before you go crying off to an attorney about your former employer pooping on you, find (and read!) that agreement you signed, probably at the time you were hired or some time after that.
                And if the OP did enter into a non-compete in Colorado, it will likely be unenforceable.

                Colorado Law under C.R.S. § 8-2-113.states that non-competition agreements are void unless one of the following exceptions applies:

                1. Any contract for the purchase and sale of a business or the assets of a business.

                2. Any contract for the protection of trade secrets.
                3. Any contractual provision for recovery of education and training expenses of an employee for a period of less than two years.
                4. Executive and management personnel and officers and employees who constitute professional staff to executive and management personnel. (If the OP was in the capacity of an account manager or account executive this exception would apply.)


                Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mlane58;1137473
                  (If the OP was in the capacity of an account manager or account executive this exception would apply.)[/COLOR
                  [/FONT]
                  [/INDENT]


                  Given that he's talking about "his" clients, he probably was in an account manager capacity. And if he signed a non-solicitation agreement he may well not be allowed to take his former employer's clients away, at least for a while, and even in Colorado.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eerelations View Post
                    Given that he's talking about "his" clients, he probably was in an account manager capacity. And if he signed a non-solicitation agreement he may well not be allowed to take his former employer's clients away, at least for a while, and even in Colorado.
                    A non-solicitation agreement and a non-compete are two different things and until the OP returns with more info, we shouldn't speculate on the what ifs.
                    Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mlane58 View Post
                      A non-solicitation agreement and a non-compete are two different things and until the OP returns with more info, we shouldn't speculate on the what ifs.
                      Of course they're two different things! And I agree, we shouldn't speculate too much on whether the OP signed one/both of these types of documents...that's why I asked the OP to tell us whether he did.

                      I still think he did (or at least his former employer thinks he did) though, based on the OP's own (garbled) words:

                      "I feel the firm is tying to “scare” my clients into not working with me because they are failing currently."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eerelations View Post
                        Of course they're two different things! And I agree, we shouldn't speculate too much on whether the OP signed one/both of these types of documents...that's why I asked the OP to tell us whether he did.

                        I still think he did (or at least his former employer thinks he did) though, based on the OP's own (garbled) words:

                        "I feel the firm is tying to “scare” my clients into not working with me because they are failing currently."
                        After researhing a bit farther, Colorado courts have concluded that non-solicitation agreements are just another form of a prohibition on competition. As a result, a ban on soliciting customers must meet the same strict standards as a general ban or non-competes on working for a competitor to be enforceable.

                        So even if the OP signed a non-solicitation agreement, chances are it is also not enforceable.
                        Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Per my reference 1-2010 loose leaf binder with state employment laws - Colorado:

                          (though we don't know what OP might have signed)

                          Noncompete agreements and convenants not to solicit customers that restrict "the right of any person to receive compensation for performance of skilled or unskilled labor for any employer" are void except in limited circumstances.

                          Employee non-solicitation agreements are not void under Colorado law; however, such agreements may only prohibit a former employee from initiating contact with current employees to work for a competitor, not from hiring a current employee who was not approached by former employee.

                          Noncompete/Customer Non-solicitation Agreements: CRS 8-2-113(2), Management Recruiters of Boulder v. Miller 762 P.2d 763 (Colo. App. 1988), National Graphics Co. v. Dilley, 681 P.2d 546 (Colo. App. 1984)

                          Employee Non-solicitation Agreements: National Propane Corp. v. Miller, 18 P.3d 782 (Colo. App. 2000), and Atmel Corp. v. Vitesse Semiconductor Corp., 30 P.3d 789 (Colo. App. 2001)
                          Last edited by Betty3; 05-20-2010, 01:34 AM.
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