Employees & Independent Contractors

There is no more important part of your business than the employees and contractors on whom you rely, day in and day out.

We recommend that you have written agreements with all employees and contractors, including agreements that ensure that you own all of the intellectual property they create for the company. This is particularly important for independent contractors, as in the absence of a written agreement assigning intellectual property to the company, the independent contractor retains ownership of the intellectual property.  This ownership principle has caused more than one major company to lose control of significant intellectual property. Don’t let that happen to you. Always get written agreements assigning intellectual property to your company.

We can help you develop standard forms of employee and independent contractor agreements to ensure that the company’s interests are protected.  In addition to intellectual property protection, you need to ensure that your employees generally are “at-will” employees, which means they or the company are able to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reasons. For high-level employees, there is often an expectation that severance will be paid on termination. Let us assist you in determining what severance would be appropriate and under what circumstances, in addition to draft the agreements to put the appropriate arrangements in place.

We also counsel our clients on compliance with the myriad state and federal regulations that make up employment law, including in regard to wage and hour and potential age, gender and racial discrimination issues.  These laws and regulations are particularly stringent in California, and a failure to comply can result not only in major headaches for management, but significant penalties.

No matter how good of an employer you are or how diligent you are in selecting personnel, it is a fact of business life that not all employees or independent contractors work out.  When terminating an employee, it is important to be aware of applicable legal requirements, including that all salary and accrued but unused vacation be paid out at the time of termination. For independent contractors, beware of early termination fees and the like.

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