The best way for an employee to preserve his or her future claims is to make a complete record of it. Make a record everywhere. Record the events in your daily journal. Report the events to your supervisor. Report the events to human resources. I know, reporting things is scary. You might get fired. But, if you do not report the events that you believe are unlawful, then you cannot thereafter hold your employer accountable. In other words, an employer cannot fix what it does not know is wrong.
I receive many calls from employees who were recently lost their job and were handed a severance agreement to sign. Some clients believe that the severance agreement is some kind of bribe; they believe it's an admission by the employer that the employer did some wrong; they think they are being silence. None of this is necessarily true. From an employer's perspective, a severance agreement is a smart move to protect itself against future liability.
It is a too-little known fact that the law imposes certain rights and obligations upon individuals who do business together. I recently contributed to an article published in the San Diego Professional Journal that identifies some of the most important, commonly ignored, laws that apply to those who engage in business together.
As quoted in Small Business Trendsetters, "litigation doesn't make friends, contracts do". Time and time again, clients come to T.Burd Law Group with a contract concern over a contract that was never reviewed or prepared by their own attorney. Sometimes they have an existing contract and other times there is no written contract at all. When I ask them why they did not consult an attorney previously, they often respond with answers such as: "Well, I trusted him"; "We were long-time friends"; "He's my husband's best friend"; "We've done business before." These reasons are counter-intuitive to their end goal.
Let me begin with a disclaimer: I do not advise people to enter verbal agreements. That said, verbal agreements happen all the time, and it is important to know that they are enforceable. As a practical matter, it is important to know that your spoken word matters. This notion relates back to the hope that "people are good" and "trustworthy." When you tell someone you promise you will do something in exchange for something else, you can be legally held to that promise.