Reader: What’s in the fine print of a buyout offer?

Regarding my advice on whether you should pursue a buyout, a reader asks: “Does the buyout offer ever include special conditions that the employee must accept — such as the non-disparagement clause you alluded to in a previous post? Or, like doctors and other professionals, a non-compete clause — or any other terms by which the employee must modify one’s behavior?”

Good questions! My buyout offer included only one restriction: My severance payments would end if I accepted a job at any Gannett business. (Fat chance, given Gannett Blog!)

Some higher-paid employees may be required to promise not to work for a competing business as long as the buyout is in effect. I know that other employees who’ve taken buyouts were required to sign agreements promising they wouldn’t disparage the company. So, buyout terms apparently vary at individual Gannett subsidiaries. As with any legal agreement, read all the fine print — and consult a labor attorney, if in doubt.

Have you taken a Gannett buyout? Did it include non-disparagement or other such clauses? Post your reply in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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2 Responses to “Reader: What’s in the fine print of a buyout offer?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You’d be nuts to accept job at another Gannett location! What’s the point in taking the buyout? Take the money and run!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    If you possess proprietary information, it is a non-disclosure or confidentiality covenant; if you possess unique skills, a TV face, or are upper management, it may be a non-compete; if a lawyer was involved or you had a less than an enviable separation experience, it is non-disparagement and a release from any future litigation. It has been held that the truth is a defense to a non-disparagement covenant; a creation intended more to lasso in biased, free-wheeling commentary. Given the success here, I would think more thought would be directed at non-disparagement in future separation agreements.

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