For employers, one of the primary purposes of a full and final release is to prevent the former employee from pursuing legal action against the employer.
You bring the employee into the boardroom, have an awkward 5 minute discussion about restructuring and the elimination of her role, thank her for her years of service, hand her the termination package with the various settlement package details, request that she returns all company property and offer to help her pack her personal items. Then, she asks about her cell phone. Can she keep the phone? Can she keep the phone number?
If an employee negotiates a termination package with an employer but does not sign a release, can they successfully claim additional pay in lieu of notice in a court action? Interestingly, the Ontario Superior Court recently held that the answer for one employee in these circumstances was “no”.