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Employment Agreements

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Employment Agreement Lawyers in the Bay Area

There are many different contracts a worker might enter into over the course of their employment, and these contracts might drastically affect the worker’s legal rights. In most employment situations, the employer drafts all employment-related contracts. Therefore, the written agreements are more likely to favor the employer than the employee. Employees have the right to have these documents reviewed by their own attorney in order to protect their important legal rights. 

Here are a few of the most common contracts that our legal team sees affecting the rights of San Francisco workers:  

Employment Contracts

Upon starting employment, many workers are asked to sign a written agreement that clearly states the terms of their employment. These contracts can affect your employment in ways you might not think of, even if they seem straightforward. For example, your employment contract might state that you must bring any future complaints against your employer in arbitration, instead of court.  Or, your employment contract might state that you may not accept outside employment as long as you work for this employer. Without further clarification, it is not clear whether this prohibition applies to part-time work or independent contracting. It could even apply to your outside activities: political and campaign workers are sometimes paid for their work. Even if this payment is a small amount, it could constitute a violation of the terms of your employment agreement. This example is just one of many reasons why it is important to have your own lawyer review your employment contract before committing to employment. 

Intellectual Property

The Bay Area and Silicon Valley are home to many technology companies. Thousands of workers across Northern California are paid for their creative ideas. Intellectual property rights are the most valuable asset that many workers have. While an employer may be entitled to ownership of ideas that are created and developed for the company, they are not entitled to all the intellectual property you will ever create, including copyrights, patents, and trademarks. 

It is important to have clear, unambiguous agreements that clearly define the ownership of your intellectual property. If an employer alone drafts the terms of your employment agreement, you are likely to have few – if any – rights over your own intellectual property. Consult with your own lawyer to be sure that you have property ownership and financial rights over intellectual property that does not belong to your employer.  

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

NDAs are coming under heavy scrutiny in today’s employment market. In theory, these agreements can be used to protect a company’s confidential data and trade secrets. In practice, however, these agreements have become weapons that are used to bully victims of workplace misconduct into silence. Some employers have been able to get away with sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and other unlawful conduct because the victim is silenced by an NDA. 

The California legislature has taken steps to restrict the use of NDAs in many different types of settlement agreements. Even a severance agreement can be modified by the court if it contains an overly broad NDA. Let our attorneys review any type of NDA that you have been asked to sign before you agree to be bound by the provision.

Discuss Any Contracts with an Employment Attorney

Call (415) 484-0980 or visit our website to schedule your consultation with one of the experienced employment lawyers at Olivier & Schreiber LLP today. 

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