In the era of high technology employment, intellectual property (IP) fills a massive role. Just about every large corporation, including those in the Detroit area, utilizes intellectual property in some form. Much of this property rightfully belongs to the employer. For example, trademarks, logos and client lists are clearly the employer's property.
Many employment attorneys talk about what executive contracts should and should not contain. We have written about and discussed contract clauses several times in our legal blog. These topics are important to executives concerned about protecting themselves, but sometimes, these discussions are a bit too general.
If you are on the hunt for an executive-level position, you might be tempted to take the first offer that comes your way -- especially if you really want to work for a particular company. No matter how excited you are about your prospects, however, it is usually wiser to wait a little before signing a contract. This gives you some time to review its terms and decide whether you should accept the contract as written or negotiate for better terms.
Being hired as an executive at a company can come with a lot of perks including a nice base salary with opportunities for you to earn bonuses. While all of these may leave you wanting to ask where you need to sign your contract so that you can get started, you may benefit from having an attorney review it and even negotiate a little on your behalf.
When a professional- or executive-level employee is going to get laid off at work, the employee will often receive a severance package from his or her employer. Perhaps, for example, the employee will receive a year's worth of pay and a year of insurance benefits in exchange for the untimely loss of his or her job. Such severance packages can involve a lot of money, and they can be very helpful for an employee's financial security, so it's wise to take care when negotiating such an agreement with an employer.
An "employment contract and compensation agreement" establishes the terms of an employment relationship between the worker and employer. Although such a contract is not required for all employees of a particular business, an employment contract and compensation agreement is often used when establishing the terms associated with hiring someone into an executive-level position.
It's common for employment agreements to contain a noncompetition clause. Many employers expose trade secrets and client lists to employees and they don't want their employees using this confidential information to compete against them unfairly. As long as noncompete clauses are reasonable, courts will often require employees to adhere to them. However, clear limitations apply to these agreements and an employee subjected to an unreasonable noncompetition clause may not have to follow it.
Wrongful termination can happen in numerous different ways. For example, Michigan employees might be wrongfully terminated as a result of racial discrimination or as a result of retaliation for making a complaint about sexual harassment. In other cases, an employee could be wrongfully terminated in a way that violates his or her employment contract.
Your employment contract governs the terms of the employee-employer relationship. The employment contract should, therefore, cover a wide variety of areas, from the benefits the employee can expect to receive to the terms and conditions by which a termination of employment may occur.
Thomas Jefferson once said, "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." While this is a risky position to take in the 21st century, because it could land you in jail, it might apply to non-competition agreements in certain circumstances. If you signed such an agreement as a part of your previous job, and you want to continue working in the same industry, you might want to review your non-competition agreement carefully to determine if you can get into legal trouble if you break it.