One of the services that Slingshot Legal Services offers to attorneys, is the revision and/or creation of agreements. One of the most common types of agreements we assist attorneys with are employment agreements. Since we are not attorneys, we cannot assist and prepare employment agreements for non-attorney clients, so we will provide some of the information that we typically include in employment agreements. This is for informational use only, and should in no way, be considered legal advice, as we are simply sharing what we typically include in an employment agreement. Please contact a licensed attorney if you seek assistance in preparing or having an employment agreement drafted.
When drafting employment agreements, we typically make sure there is a section that identifies the parties in detail and this can included company-to-company, however most common of agreement is usually and individual and company.
We specify what the specific performance and duties are. We feel this is a very important part of the agreement because it can clear up a lot of ambiguity down the road. The more specific you are about what the parties expect from one another, the more likely the parties are to stay out of potential issues at a later time. Sometimes we are over specific, but we feel it’s better to over specify than to generalize and end up in litigation down the road.
Compensation and benefits are also a very important part of the employment agreement in our experience. This is another area that should be as specific as possible, for example, base pay, hourly rate, exempt, non-exempt, part-time, full-time, sick time, vacation time, PTO, 401(k) (matching contributions), evaluations, bonuses, merit bonuses/raises, cost of living raises, medical, dental, vision, cafeteria plan, to name a few. Again on compensation and benefits, it’s always to be more inclusive and you can revise and amend later.
In our experience, a confidentiality – unauthorized disclosure section is also very important. In today’s technology driven world, businesses compete with the chore of staying on top of technology and the ability to offer their clients the highest satisfaction of the best technology and therefore, employees need to maintain confidentiality.
We usually have unauthorized disclosures that also follow the employee after termination of their employment, which is also very important. Just because they are no longer employed with the company, doesn’t mean that the information that they discovered during their employment, is less important.
It’s also important, in our opinion, to include a remedies section, which specifically lays out the actions that can/will be taken with respect to any breach in the agreements between the parties. This can include up to and including termination, with other actions available as well. In some instances, we have included monetary compensation for such breach of disclosures.
We always suggest that any amendments to the employment agreement be in writing and executed by both parties and that the amendment by noted to be part of the original employment agreements, such as an addendum to the employment agreement.
We suggest also including a termination of agreement provision, that will spell out the reasons(s) for termination for both parties, again making the agreement more specific and less ambiguous is wiser.
We often draft into the agreements a notices section that defines how notices should be provided from one party to the other and we often suggest using certified mail-return receipt requested or overnight delivery UPS/FED-EX, either option that allows that a return signature is guaranteed. We have learned over the years, that some people try and mail without proof of delivery and it never turns out good for them. We suggest paying the extra $15.00 and cover all your bases.
A non-assignment section is always a good provision to have, however not always necessary.
However, the ownership of intellectual property, again just in our opinion, is a very important provision to include. This section any of the intellectual property, copyrights and other intellectual property and property rights shall be deemed the ownership of the employer, not the employee. Very important provision is today’s technology driven world.
Some businesses are steering clear of arbitration provisions related to the employment agreements and it is something that is really a personal preference. However, in our opinion, arbitration provisions are a way to keep costs down as litigation in our court systems is not only expensive but it is extremely time consuming and cumbersome. So we highly still suggest (mediation also an option) private arbitration provisions (Slingshot Legal Services can also assist in all private arbitration’s).
And to wrap up the employment agreement, the customary successors, entire agreement, severability and applicable law provisions are wise provisions to include as well (in our opinion).
For additional information on employee/employer rights and responsibilities, we also suggest visiting the BOLI website at https://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/Pages/index.aspx.
We assist attorneys in drafting agreements of all types, sizes and complexity. If you are or know of an attorney that may be interested in our services, please have them contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 956-6629.
We will have more information on other types of agreements we assist attorneys in drafting in future posts.