Can an employer force an employee to sign a release?

Alberta, Canada

The following excerpt is from 889946 Alberta Ltd. v. Carter, 2002 ABPC 28 (CanLII):

Feehan J. provides the following as an example. A release was held unconscionable in circumstances where an employee was terminated, and the employer insisted he sign a release prior to receiving his final cheque and severance. The court held that the employer had no right to insist that the employee, who was 23 years old, sign the release or go without the pay for which he had a real need. The age and education of the employee, and the imbalance of bargaining power was held to constitute coercion, and thereby vitiate the effect of the signed document (Augustine v. Nadrofsky Corporation, (1986) 17 O.A.C. 297 (Ont. Div. Ct.)).

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