Featured in this episode of Chaos Lever
Your employer is not your friend. They’re not your family. You and your employer have a mutually beneficial arrangement, wherein you provide a service and they pay you for that service. If your employer chooses to end that relationship, then that should be the end of it. They shouldn’t be able to compel your silence, choose who you work with next, or control what you say. The operative word here being shouldn’t.
In 2020, as everything else was going to pot, the Republican majority run National Labor Relations Board ruled that severance agreements could include so-called non-disparagement clauses, and that such clauses were binding so long as agreement was signed “voluntarily” and the layoff conducted legally.
As anyone who has been laid off before knows, you (as the formerly employed) are not exactly in a position of strength, and chances are you’ll sign whatever agreement they put in front of you, because money. Basically, your employer can fire you and then make you sign an agreement stating you won’t say anything bad about them under penalty of severance forfeiture.
In an astonishing and somewhat refreshing reversal, the current democrat-led NLRB has ruled, effective immediately, that such nondisparagement clauses are in violation of federal law, making them non-binding even in already signed agreements.
So if you are recently laid off (as I suspect some of you might be), you are free to talk shit about your former employer without concern that it will void your severance package. What it does to your career is still your problem, but at least you’ll get paid.