EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AGREEMENTS
Executives should utilize the services of an employment lawyer when they are initially hired and offered an executive compensation agreement. Making sure an executive compensation agreement is properly drafted in favor of the executive employee, from the get-go, is of paramount importance. However, executives rarely hire their own employment lawyer to protect their rights during the drafting process of their executive compensation agreements.
Our firm is a litigation firm so we are often asked to come onto the scene once the executive is being terminated, has been fired, the executive realizes they will never be properly paid under the executive compensation agreement, or money is due under the agreement. Sometimes we are asked to assist in severance negotiations when a high level employee is being fired. Our experiences representing employees and executives have caused our employment lawyers to have a few statements about executive compensation agreements.
Common problems employees face due to improperly drafted employment agreements by the employers’ lawyers whom fail to take into consideration the interests of the employee:
- The employment contract lacks a term. A term means the specified length or duration of the contract.
- The employee has signed other employment documents which contain at-will language. The signed employment documents might be an acknowledgement of an employee handbook, employee arbitration agreement, or an employment application
- The employment contract itself claims the employee is at-will
- The employee was given an offer letter that is signed by somebody of authority, but it states the employment is subject to the will of the employer, or that it is not a contract
- The employee handbook or a document the employee is asked to sign contains a statement that nobody other than the President of the Company, CEO, or like high ranking officers of the employer are able to making a legally binding contract on the employer
- The employment agreement contains liquidated damages in the event of a breach of contract, and the liquidated damages are limited such as 30-90 days of pay
- The employment agreement allows the employer to terminate the employee if they provide the employee limited notice such as 14-60 days, and if notice is not provided the employee’s remedy is the amount of pay they would earn during the notice period
- Damages under the employment contract are to be figured on the basis of straight salary which does not consider 401k marching, bonuses, commissions, stock options, or any other valuable employment benefits including health insurance
- The manner of determining commissions or bonus is unclear free directory
- The employment contract is only a small portion of the employment agreement because there are riders, addendums, or attachments that can be found who knows where and say who knows what
As you can see there are many contract provisions employers insert in employment contracts that are completely unfavorable to the employee, and favorable to the employer. A contract can end up providing little benefit to the employee. We can help if these situations require litigation in arbitration or court. We might also be able to help you properly draft and obtain the terms of employment that will help you, in your employment contract.
Our experienced employment lawyers can assist if:
- An employment contract has been breached and there needs to be litigation
- An employment agreement is terminated by the employer before its expiration
- If the employee is fired for unlawful reasons such as wrongful termination or a form of discrimination (age, disability, medical condition, or race)
- The employer is refusing to pay a bonus, commissions, or stock options which comes up somewhat frequently in the world of employment litigation
- There is a dispute about what percent, or override commissions are figured at
- There is a dispute about what the employer’s gross profits or net profits are for the purpose of determining how much money is owed to the employee
Firm Head, Karl Gerber, has practiced employment law since 1993. He has represented many executives including officers of corporations, site managers, human resources, legal counsel, partners, minority shareholders, doctors, and high ranking sales people. He has the appropriate amount of experience to properly represent high level employees. In binding arbitrations and trials he first- chaired his win rate is 45/46. He has also won a number of appeals (some published), and written more than 300 articles on employment law. He is the kind of top employment lawyer a high level employee needs if they are engaged in a contract dispute, or litigation.
Our firm maintains offices in Sherman Oaks the same building we bought back in 1999. We also maintain a downtown Los Angeles office. In 2013 we acquired an on-the-water property in Mandalay Bay, Oxnard to serve Ventura County and north. We also have offices in Tustin, Bakersfield, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento.Free