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Governor Whitmer Releases Executive Directive On Separation Agreements


March 12, 2021 



Governor Whitmer Releases Executive Directive On Separation Agreements 


LANSING, Mich. - Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her first Executive Directive of 2021 on the use of separation agreements by state departments and agenciessafeguarding the state from costly litigation and reaffirming her commitment to accountability and transparency. 


"The measures laid out in my Executive Directive ensure greater accountability and promote transparency," said Governor Whitmer. "Michiganders should have confidence in the activities of state government, including the expenditure of public funds on separation agreements. I am proud of these measures because they will benefit both state employees and the people of Michigan." 


The State of Michigan is one of the largest employers in the state. As with any workplace, employees leave for any number of reasons, including good faith disputes, professional opportunities, performance issues, health challenges, or family emergencies. Separation agreements are used for many purposes, including to define the terms of employment during a period of transition; to secure the return of state property; and to mitigate legal exposure and potential costs to taxpayers through a release of claims against the state. 


Executive Directive No. 2021-01 outlines rules for separation agreements used by the executive branch 


The directive prohibits terms in separation agreements that require a party to deny the existence of the agreement or prevent the release of the text of the agreement.  


In addition, the directive provides that any separation agreement involving a monetary payment must secure a release of claims and be based on a reasonable judgment that securing the release of claims will mitigate financial risk for the state and protect taxpayer money. 


Under the new directive, separation agreements cannot deny a party the right or opportunity to disclose the underlying facts and circumstances regarding unlawful workplace acts including discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, or fraud. A clause that protects the identity of a victim, however, may be included at the request of the victim.  


Finally, prior to finalizationall separation agreements must be submitted to the Attorney General for review. 


The Executive Directive is effective immediately and can be viewed in full here.