Non-denigration agreements can be confusing and the circumstances under which you are asked to sign one may be difficult. But knowing what your company really wants from you – and what you need to keep in mind before you sign – can help you make a decision that will allow you to protect yourself and ultimately work on exciting new opportunities. It is not uncommon for a disparagement clause to be included in an employment contract that you must sign upon hiring, often as a party or next to a competition or non-invitation agreement, said Mary Cheddie, division head of the Human Resources Management Corporation. When an employee signs something in advance while everyone is happy, the company protects against being in a bad mood in the future when the relationship gets angry, says Cheddie. Dismissal and dispute settlement agreements often contain a provision prohibiting one or more parties from making “derogatory” statements about the other. Such non-disappearance clauses are often used, but rarely brought. As a result, employers negotiating these terms (as well as their advisor) may not be familiar with how they might be triggered and the practical impact of trying to enforce them. Here are some ideas for employers considering including non-disparage clauses in their settlement agreements. On the one hand, if you have been blind to dismissal and need the money to pay your rent and buy food for a few more months until you find a new job, you can choose to sign a disparance clause to get the severance pay that is offered to you. On the other hand, you may have some savings and be motivated by different factors to transfer money so that you are free to say what you want. Whether your employer imposes its non-disappearance agreements depends on your business and what the denigration entails.
Is it likely that they come after you to pick them up from your mother or in a private message to your best friend? Probably not. However, as with any legal document, you should consider a non-disappearing agreement as a contract with possible consequences if you do not maintain your end of good deal.