I've just left a job, and I am considering the severance agreement offered by the company. If I sign the agreement, I would get another two weeks' salary, on top of the two weeks' salary they have already given me. It's a pretty good deal, but I have some reservations.
The agreement has a confidentiality clause which says that I will not disclose the terms or the existence of the agreement, except to my family or to legal or financial advisors. This is awkward because friends, including former colleagues, are naturally curious about the circumstances of my leaving the company. I would like to explain that the company treated me quite well, but in order to fulfill the agreement, I would refuse to discuss or even to mention it--for the rest of my life.
In other clauses, I give up various other rights: the right to make any financial claims such as discrimination claims, or to sue the company. I even give up rights which are specifically guaranteed by state law. I don't have any desire to litigate, so this doesn't bother me much, but the confidentiality clause seems bizarrely severe. I'm a little surprised that it's legal.
(1) Is this kind of clause standard in the United States, and why is it so strict?
(2) Is it common for someone in my situation to refuse the agreement?
Edited to add: To be clear, I am not asking for legal advice, but for the experiences and insights of other people in the workplace.