Legal Update – The Importance of Obtaining Advice Before Signing a Deed of Release
If your employer has given you a Deed of Release, you should make sure that the Deed is fair and does not interfere with your future before you sign it. Before signing a Deed, the Union recommends that you always speak to your union representative first. If you are called into a meeting with your employer to sign the Deed, the union recommends that you advise your employer that you would like to take the Deed home to review and get further advice before signing the Deed.
Recently at Mt Thorley Warkworth, some members were retrenched in early 2018 and instructed by Yancoal to sign a Deed of Release. By signing the Deeds, members lost the right to claim their unpaid sick leave entitlements which ranged from approximately $30,000 to $60,000. The Union therefore urges that you always speak to your union representative first before signing a Deed.
From the Union’s experience the main things you lose or are restricted in when signing a Deed include the following:
• The right to sue or seek enforcement of any further claim against your employer in the future whether it be in relation to your employment, any benefits arising in connection with your employment or the termination of your employment;
• Limitations on where you can work;
• Limitations on what information you can disclose about your employment including the disclosure of terms of a deed; and
• Limitations on what can be said about your employer particularly with regards to the reputation of your employer and its employees.