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Waiver, Summary Plan Descriptions, Rehire Restrictions.

(May 11, 2021)  Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Question? Email: info@hpalumni.org

This section is U.S.-specific.

See also: Discussion of the Waiver in Section E of our ASAP Checklist. Why the company wants the Waiver: Employment Lawsuits

The agreement you signed when you left (whether voluntarily or otherwise) limits your ability to sue.

To be paid severance or a retirement incentive, you agreed not to sue the company -- see page 2 of HP Waiver 2007 -- or to abide by the ruling of a hired arbitrator --  see pages 2-3 and page 5 of HP Waiver 2015)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a helpful guide: "Understanding Employee Severance Agreements"

Recent Waiver and General Release Agreements contain a 536-word paragraph, which includes: "The parties further agree that this Agreement is intended to be strictly construed to provide for arbitration as the sole and exclusive means for resolution of all disputes hereunder to the fullest extent permitted by law... The parties expressly waive any entitlement to have such controversies decided by a court or a jury."  Related topic: HP and HPE Employment Lawsuits

"The Supreme Court ruled that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues. ... The workers’ employment contracts required that they resolve such disputes in arbitration rather than court and, importantly, that they file their claims one by one." New York Times - May 2018
"Supreme Court Imposes Limits on Workers in Arbitration Cases. Ruling gives teeth to employment contracts drawn to minimize corporate exposure to public trials and class actions filed by employees." Wall Street Journal - May 2018

The key document for a US employee retirement or health plan is the legal Summary Plan Description (SPD). It includes plan details and an address at the employer for appeals. The current SPD takes precedence over any other written, online, or verbal information you may have been given -- but is still subject to change. The employer's plan administrator is required by law to provide the SPD upon request. How to obtain and decode: https://www.hpalumni.org/SPD-decode

Rehire restrictions.  A formal U.S. policy was issued in 2014 -- and is apparently still in force at HP and HPE. It is not enforced by DXC or other spinoffs, which are completely separate companies from HP/HPE.

Wording from typical agreements...

HP WFR: "HP Rehire Policy: It is important for HP to protect the investments made in workforce reductions and to keep its commitment to current employees to invest in their careers by creating opportunities for growth and promotion. As a result, under current HP Policy, former employees who left the company, in May 2012 or later, through a workforce reduction program are ineligible for rehire or to be engaged as an agency contractor. These policies may change from time to time." 
Summary Plan Descriptions HP SPD 2014   HPInc SPD 2016

HP PRP: "Employees who retire under the Program will be subject to HP's policies regarding rehire, which are subject to change at HP's discretion. These policies currently provide that you will not be eligible to be rehired or work as a contractor for HP at any time in the future." 
Phased Retirement Program Summary Plan Description PRP SPD 2014 

HPE WFR: "After this 60-day period, you are ineligible for rehire... Additionally, former employees who left under a severance agreement or enhanced early retirement, workforce reduction or similar circumstances (e.g., MSA or ETA) are not eligible to return to HPE as an agency contractor." 
HPE WFR FAQ 2016   The restrictions are covered in the "Global Talent Acquisition Policy" and the "Global Departing Hewlett Packard Enterprise Policy."

HPAA verified that the formal rehire policy was still in place as of June 3, 2017.

The formal policies do not apply to people who resigned without a payment, however members report that recruiters and hiring managers assume that they received payment and are therefore not eligible for rehire.

Returning via an agency or as a contractor -- you are required to submit SSN to check for former employment at the specific hiring company.

The current informal and formal policies do not contradict the terms of any Waiver and General Release that you signed in previous years in order to be paid severance or a retirement incentive. If you just skim your agreement, the tendency is to focus on the number of months or years mentioned -- and not the precise legal wording.

While the wording varied over the years, the HP Waiver agreements (typical examples: HP Waiver 2007 HP Waiver 2015 ) make the same two points:

- You are not entitled to future direct or indirect employment with HP, subsidiaries, joint ventures, or successor companies. The key phrase is "entitled to any employment" or "no right to be employed." This deals with any promises that might have been made to you -- or assumptions that you might have made.

- In earlier versions of the Waiver, you agreed not to apply for employment for a certain time period. The key word is "apply." This clause says nothing about what might happen if you apply after that period.

From a purely financial point of view, paying people to leave and then hiring them back, whether directly or indirectly, doesn't make sense.

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