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:
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.
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.
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.
Call (415) 484-0980 or visit our website to schedule your consultation with one of the experienced employment lawyers at Olivier & Schreiber LLP today.
I was unexpectedly let go from my company and faced with the sudden decision of whether to sign a severance agreement. I no longer trusted the company and needed someone on my side. Katharine Chao was recommended to me, and I hired her to advise me on the separation and of my legal rights. I felt so much more reassured and confident under her counsel, and she got my former company to agree to the more favorable severance terms I wanted. I can now move confidently onto the next chapter of my career.
Olivier & Schreiber LLP represented me in a sexual harassment case against my former employer and manager. I was really nervous to seek justice since I had never been involved in a lawsuit before. I did not even know whether I had a good case, but Katharine Chao patiently explained my rights to me and came up with a strategy that resulted in a great settlement. Throughout the process I felt like the people at O&S really heard me and treated me with dignity and respect. I highly recommend the lawyers at O&S, they are extremely knowledgeable, sharp, and compassionate.
Katharine Chao is my Hero! Not only did she take on a global world power, the compensation this warrior got for me far exceeded my wildest expectations. Kathy’s knowledge of my grievances was exceptional. She did her homework, was very thorough and explained to me the best strategy to follow and how to achieve our mission. I felt very comfortable and in good hands with her. Kathy also has a great sense of humor. She talked with me like a fellow worker, no condescending lawyer-gobbledygook. I wouldn't hesitate a second to seek counsel from her and O&S again.
As a former client of Kathy’s, there are three reasons why I would highly recommend her. First and foremost is her ethics. Even though my case spanned a couple of years, Kathy never pressured me into any course of action and instead, displayed patience and unwavering support. Second, having worked with Kathy over the years, I can confidently say that she is compassionate and cares about her clients’ wellbeing. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a world-class professional advisor. Finally, she is a fierce advocate for justice. Specifically, she pursued multiple legal avenues to redress the issues at hand. I was always confident that no stone was being left unturned in the work to hold people accountable for their actions. She didn’t engage my case to fold a strong hand. She engaged to win.
I was part of a collective action against a “big ride share” company; O&S successfully settled a case on my behalf in 2020. I even continued working throughout the entire process and kept my job! The people at O&S are so thorough and caring and they treated me with kindness. My questions were always answered, and my calls were taken or immediately returned. They made the intimidating legal process easier than I could have imagined and were there for me every step of the way. Thank you O&S, with special thanks to Kathy Chao. Hopefully, I won't need any legal services again but if I do, I know I have a law firm I can trust (yay), rely on, and refer to friends, family or colleagues.
Monique took on a complicated medical malpractice appeal for my clients after we obtained a jury verdict. Not only was she successful in upholding the verdict, but it became a published decision that helped define the landscape of California law. For her efforts she was recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as an "Attorney of the Year" for medical malpractice! When I have an appellate issue, Monique is my first choice!!
Both Christian and Katharine are terrific people as well as knowledgeable and trustworthy attorneys. They work hand-in-hand with their clients, developing case strategies collaboratively and responding swiftly to any concerns that arise. If you need legal representation, choose O&S!
Hiring Monique Olivier to handle the appeal of a trial I won was easily one of the best decisions I have made in my entire legal career. In addition to being incredibly smart, Monique’s skills and preparation were impeccable. She gave me a tremendous amount of confidence, and did an incredible job in every aspect of our appeal. My clients and I will always be grateful for Monique's superior work, and I strongly recommend her as an appellate lawyer.
Christian and his team looked out for my best interests. They had my back and were professional and unrelenting in achieving fairness for me.
Christian Schreiber was very supportive, considerate, and understanding of my situation. Super hardworking, it felt as if he was always working on my case, and always kept me in the loop. I truly appreciated that. He was always available and was super quick to answer any questions or concerns I had. He has a true passion for this job and I will highly recommend him.
I needed counsel ready to interact with a delinquent, low integrity, and untrustworthy employer. I also needed clear guidance on the path ahead. O&S was instrumental in driving the clarity I needed while being both comforting and "no nonsense." Deeply satisfied with my representation, I have recommended O&S numerous times to others in need of employment labor counsel.
Monique Olivier came highly recommended to me by a dear friend. After one meeting, it was clear to me that she was the direct, wise, and earnest attorney that I needed to back me. Monique was accessible and patient with me, particularly with the emotional aspects of my situation, and was able to provide clear and honest counsel. In the end, we were a successful team. I will forever be grateful for her support and advocacy. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Katharine Chao supported me with some employment termination issues through a consult session. She listened attentively to my account of events and elicited supporting information before offering her sound legal opinions and advice. I felt reassured about the terms of my separation. I have high regard for Katharine Chao and would return to her for future employment legal matters.
Katharine Chao is a top-notch attorney that will go the distance for her clients. She came highly recommended to me and delivered on all fronts. Her work ethic, integrity, professionalism, and thoughtful approach are some of her strongest attributes. Her commitment to her clients is unparalleled with accessibility that I generally have not experienced with other attorneys. I highly recommend Katharine Chao for your employment law needs.
Christian is an extremely knowledgeable class action attorney. He's very passionate about protecting employees' rights and helping others. In sum, an outstanding lawyer and a very kind person. I can't recommend him enough.
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