Employment & Severance Agreements
At Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C., our lawyers specialize in assisting small and mid-size businesses negotiate and draft employment agreements for newly hired employees. We are also there to assist employers at the other end of the employment relationship, negotiating and preparing severance/separation agreements for departing employees.
Not all employees require a separate, individualized written employment agreement to govern the terms of the employment relationship. For many employees, a comprehensive and up-to-date employer handbook, combined with a simple memorandum letter summarizing the required job duties and terms of compensation of the particular position, is perfectly sufficient. However, certain types of employees and job positions merit further attention, and in such circumstances a detailed and carefully drafted employment agreement is necessary to clearly spell out all of the terms of the particular employment relationship, while providing the employer with crucial legal protections.
An employment agreement is a contract that defines the scope and terms of the employer-employee relationship. Some common subjects typically addressed in an employment agreement include:
- Terms of compensation
- Performance expectations
- Job duration
- Terms of termination
- Non-compete clauses
- Restrictive covenants
- Specification of dispute resolution process
- Ownership rights
- Trade secret restrictions
- Severance package
When skillfully negotiated and drafted, an employment agreement can provide important clarity regarding job requirements and expectations, protect the employer from harm in certain situations, and help to deter potential disputes that often result in costly litigation.
As with employment agreements, severance agreements (or separation agreements) are not always required for every employee – nor are they always desirable. However, in certain circumstances, it can be extremely beneficial for an employer to carefully spell out the terms upon which a particular employee or group of employees will cease working for the employer. Doing so can provide clarity regarding the rights and obligations of both the employer and the employee, and eliminate the employers’ risk of litigation by obtaining a release of rights from the departing employee.
From an employer’s standpoint, a well-drafted severance agreement can put the company in a favorable position with respect to employees who are being terminated or laid off. It can also protect a business against exposure to lawsuits, theft of trade secrets, and defamation. Additionally, through the use of non-compete clauses, employee non-disclosure provisions, non-disparagement clauses, and restrictive covenants, an employer can gain security in exchange for providing severance pay and/or other additional employee benefits. When effectively negotiated and drafted, severance agreements constitute a vital part of an employer’s risk management approach towards employee relations.
At Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C., we have years of experience in assisting employers with the negotiation and preparation of employment and severance agreements. Arrange a consultation with us today. Call (718) 275-6700.
Employment and labor law attorneys serving businesses in Long Island City, Queens, on Long Island and in towns and communities across the New York City metro area