Skip to Content

Adams and Reese Labor and Employment Partner Ben Bard was interviewed by Law360 in an article, “NLRB Precedent Shift on Severance Pacts Faces 6th Circuit,” which was published in the national legal news publication’s Employment Authority section.

A Sixth Circuit panel will review a National Labor Relations Board decision that held employers violate federal labor law by offering severance agreements with overly broad confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses. Arguments are scheduled for Thursday, May 2, in Michigan hospital McLaren Macomb’s challenge to a February 2023 NLRB decision that severance agreements it offered to furloughed workers included confidentiality and nondisparagement language that violated the National Labor Relations Act.

In an interview with Law360, Bard said the arguments over the board’s decision are important because the McLaren Macomb ruling has changed how employers approach severance agreements. Bard said if the hospital is successful in convincing the appeals court that the board overstepped with the standard, it could hamper follow-on initiatives general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has launched targeting noncompetes and other types of employment agreements.

“The decision in and of itself with the severance agreement is important to employers, but the larger implications of affecting severance agreements in the context of litigation and other types of employment agreement is important,” Bard said.

Bard added that the board’s decision in McLaren Macomb was a significant change to the law that has made employers rethink their severance agreements. “I think it was pretty shocking for employers, we’ve been using these types of agreements and provisions for years, and it’s a pretty fundamental change in what you could and could not do in severance,” Bard said.

Click here to read the article (article is behind a paywall, for subscribers only)

Bard recently co-authored an Adams and Reese labor and employment news alert, “How Do Employers Navigate Evolving Landscape of Restrictive Covenants Following NLRB’s McLaren Macomb Decision?

Bard is a management-side labor and employment attorney serving private and public employers throughout the state of Florida. He is board certified by The Florida Bar in Labor and Employment Law. Practicing for 15 years, Bard has represented a wide array of organizations and industries, including telecommunications, state and local government, higher education, religious organizations, insurance, pharmaceutical, and retail pharmacy, assisting these clients with a variety of labor and employment law issues and disputes.