When an employee and an employer reach a consensus on the details of their working arrangement, employees are often asked to sign a wide range of employment agreements. While such agreements can protect both sides from misunderstandings, they are typically designed to protect the employer. Typically, the agreements set forth rights and obligations and identify expectations and behaviors that will not be tolerated.
The attorneys at Minces Rankin PLLC have decades of experience in drafting, refining, interpreting and negotiating employment agreements. We help employees understand their rights and coach them on the steps necessary for compliance. We also work with employers by helping them create employment agreements that prevent some employee lawsuits and enable employers to aggressively defend others.
At-Will and Work-For-Hire Agreements
An employer can end an “at will” working relationship with an employee for any legal reason. Given this, employees should review their employment agreements carefully understand whether they are employed “at will” or for a specific contractual time period. One thing to watch for in employment agreements is “work for hire” language, which typically allows the employer to retain any intellectual property rights attached to the project. That means that if you invent something worth millions or even billions, the revenue from that invention will typically belong to the employer only. Sometimes, this language is subject to negotiation, and we can help.
Employment Agreements – Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreements
Companies who seek to protect their intellectual property rights may also call on employees to sign non-disclosure or confidentiality employment agreements. These agreements prevent the employee from disclosing any details about the work to be done to any outside sources. Employees should review such employment agreements to determine the circumstances that could lead to a breach of contract, as well as any penalties related to such disclosures.
Employment Agreements – Separation and Severance Agreements
When employees are terminated, they are often asked to sign a severance agreement. There is generally no law that requires an employee to sign such an agreement. However, employees often want to because doing so allows them to receive severance pay. We understand that, but sometimes severance agreements contain undesirable language, including severe restrictions on employees’ ability to find new work and other language that can actually enable to company to take back the severance pay. Other times, the employer is willing to offer more money than initially offered in exchange for the employee’s signature. Getting legal advice before signing a severance agreement is critical.
Employment Agreements – Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements
More than ever, companies are trying to protect their confidential information from employees who may want to use it to compete against the employer in the future. Typically, this comes in the form of a non-compete/non-solicitation agreement that prevents employees from stealing ideas and then trying to hire away the best of their former coworkers. Employers should seek advice from an in-state lawyer about what can and cannot be included in a non-compete agreement. Each state’s law varies, and agreements that lack certain language can be unenforceable, as can agreements that contain unfair terms and/or requirements. Likewise, employees should contact an attorney to review these employment agreements. A two-year restriction on your ability to work in your chosen profession or your hometown can be a life-changing event. We can advise employers on how to make their agreements enforceable, and we can help employees make informed choices.
Contact an Employment Agreement Attorney
To find out how we can help you with your employment agreements, contact us today at 346-701-8563. Our friendly staff will ask a few questions about your case and connect you to an employment agreement attorney. You can also fill out the form at the top of this page to request a consultation.