Contract disputes are often an uncomfortable side effect of a breach of an employment contract. Employment contracts are created and used for protection; to protect… an employer’s trade secrets, technology or training investment; or, an employee’s severance package, bonus, perks, and more. When the terms of an employment contract are broken, then a dispute is often the result.
While terms differ from situation to situation, employment contract disputes often involve one of the following components…
- NON-COMPETITION – In the non-competition clause, the employee agrees that for a certain amount of time after he or she stops working for the employer, the employee will not become employed by a rival company or any company engaged in a similar type of business. In addition, the employee will not set up a company that will compete with the employer’s business or solicit the employer’s existing customers. Usually the non-competition clause is limited to a specific geographic area.
- CONFIDENTIALITY – An employee confidentiality agreement is a contract (or part of a contract) in which the employee promises not to share any information about the details of the employer’s business or the employer’s secret processes, plans, formulas, data, or machinery. Usually a confidentiality agreement lasts even after the employee no longer works for the employer.
- EXCLUSIVE EMPLOYMENT – In this type of provision, the employee promises that while employed with the company, they will not work for anyone else in the same or similar type of business. It may also extend to a promise not to be a shareholder, director, or volunteer in a similar business.
- OWNERSHIP OF INVENTIONS – This provision applies to an employee who invents items as a part of their employment. In this part of the contract, the employee agrees that anything he or she invents at work will become the employer’s invention as opposed to the employee’s own invention. Additionally, employees usually agree to assign their inventions to the employer, cooperate with the employer in getting inventions patented, and keep information about the invention confidential like any other trade secret.
- TERMINATION – A standard part of any employment contract is the “termination” clause. It states that either party may terminate the employment contract for any reason by giving a certain amount of notice, such as two weeks’ notice. It may also give the employer the right to just terminate the contract without notice if the employee violates the contract in any way. Another aspect of the termination clause is a statement that the employer has the right to terminate the contract if the employee becomes permanently disabled because of ill health or physical or mental disability such that the employee can no longer do the job.
If you believe you have been the victim of a breach of employment contract and have an employment contract dispute, then we can help.