The Ohio Employer Law Blog reports that the EEOC has just filed suit against CVS Pharmacy claiming its standard severance agreement amounted to retaliation for exercise of protected employment rights. This claim is based on the EEOC’s belief that the agreement potentially restricts employees from filing charges or participating in employment related investigations.
From a review of the complaint it appears that the CVS agreement is similar in form to agreements often used in Oregon and Washington. The one exception is the cooperation clause, which requires the employee to report any “subpoena, deposition notice, interview request, or other inquiry” they receive seeking information about CVS. While this is only a lawsuit, its filing suggests this to be an area of interest to the EEOC, and increased risk to employers. Employers will need to carefully weigh this risk in considering how broadly an employment release is drafted.
Thanks to Eric B. Meyer of the Employers Handbook Blog for bringing this to my attention.