THE NEED FOR WRITTEN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Well-Drafted Contracts Eliminate Uncertainty and Ambiguity

Most workers are employed “at-will,” meaning either the employer or employee may end the work relationship at any time for any lawful reason without cause or advance notice. California law generally presumes an employee is employed at-will unless the employee can prove otherwise, such as a manager’s contrary verbal or written statement that the worker was guaranteed employment for some definite period, e.g., a year, 18 months, etc.

A properly drafted at-will employment agreement establishes in writing the employment is at-will and confirms management may not verbally change that status. A typical at-will employment agreement may contain additional terms including: confidentiality/nondisclosure obligations to protect the company’s trade secrets and other confidential information; when and how to return company property; and verification of the employer’s ownership rights to certain intellectual property prepared within the scope of employment, i.e. “works made for hire.”

Employees who might collaborate on new inventions, innovations, or similar technology should also sign an invention assignment agreement prior to commencement of employment which would, among other things, define and list exactly which inventions belong to the employee and which ones must be assigned to the employer.

Employers who pay commissions to their California employees must provide them with written and signed commission agreements.

Employers who wish to arbitrate future disputes should also provide employees with a properly written arbitration agreement.

An experienced employment lawyer can help draft workable, legally compliant employment agreements including those described in this article.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

March 30, 2018