New York is an at-will employment state, meaning that any employee who is not covered by a written contract may be terminated at any time, so long as the termination is not the product of unlawful discrimination. Executives must carefully protect themselves in the event they are terminated by entering into a new employment agreement or revising an existing agreement. Companies promise substantial salaries, support, future opportunities and growth when recruiting executives to join, but frequently fail to live up to these promises. Written employment agreements ensure that you receive the salary, benefits and support you were promised.
Before signing any employment agreement, employees must review the potential restrictions that are being placed on them throughout their employment and upon termination. Many companies prevent employees from engaging in any outside work for other entities while employed on a full-time basis and may claim an assignment of all intellectual property developed while working for the company. Companies also frequently require confidentiality and non-compete agreements that may restrict an employee’s ability to seek employment with any potentially competing companies for a period of one or more years. As New York courts typically allow employers to enforce non-compete agreements that are found to be reasonable with respect to scope and duration, it is important to consult an employment law attorney before entering into such an agreement, to protect your livelihood once your employment with the company concludes.
The attorneys at Pelton & Associates, PC have negotiated employment agreements on behalf of executives working at prominent financial institutions and other corporations. If you are being asked to leave your current position in order to take a new job, we strongly encourage you to secure an employment contract setting forth the employer’s duty to pay salary, benefits and incentive compensation, including any vesting requirements, while setting forth any restrictions on employment and the terms upon which your employment may be terminated. If you require assistance negotiating or reviewing a proposed employment agreement, please contact Pelton & Associates, PC today.