You are ready to go to court against your employer or former employer if needed. However, you would prefer to settle the case out of court. You think it will be faster and easier, and you also feel like the company may be happy to settle just to get the whole issue over with.
If this is your goal, one thing to keep in mind is that some terms may come along with the settlement. If you accept that money, you legally have to abide by those terms. You no longer have any choice. Examples include those regarding:
- The amount of money you were given
- The trade secrets you learned at the company
- Other compensation, such as stock options
- Issues regarding employment references and future employability
One of the most common provisions of a settlement is a confidentiality clause. It means that you’re not allowed to discuss the case or tell someone else the details.
Why do companies want to use a provision like this? It’s often about perception. Companies try to protect their public image. They don’t want the details of a settlement to get out because that could be more costly, due to the public outrage, than the amount of the settlement. They’re willing to give you the money, but they don’t want to tarnish their name, and that’s likely why they wanted to stay out of court in the first place.
You need to know exactly what you’re agreeing to if you accept the settlement. Your attorney can provide valuable advice and work to protect your interests.