Restrictive Covenants

New York Severance Agreement Lawyers -- What to Consider Before You Sign!

It is extremely important to understand all of the terms of your New York severance agreement and the impact that the terms of the severance agreement will have on you in the future.  Before you sign your New York severance agreement, here are a few things you should consider:

  • Does the severance agreement contain a non-compete clause?  A non-compete is a provision that will prevent you from working for a competitor or another company for a specific time period (typically 1-2 years in NY and NJ).  If the agreement contains a non-compete clause, will it prevent you from working in the future.  One thing to consider is whether the severance agreement will compensate your for the entire non-compete period.
  • Does the severance agreement provide you with all of the benefits that you were entitled to during your employment (e.g., 401(k), pension, life insurance)?
  • Does the agreement contain all promises that were made to you verbally?  If the promises are not in the agreement, they will most likely not be enforceable.  We commonly see employers promise to pay vacation but fail to include it in the severance agreement.
  • Do you have any possible claims against the employer that you are waiving as a result of entering into the severance agreement?  Most employment attorneys will offer you a free consultation.  Take advantage of the free consultation to determine whether you have a potential claim against your employer prior to signing any severance agreement.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your New York severance agreement or would like a free consultation regarding your potential claims.

NY Small Business Employment Law Issues -- Restrictive Covenants

NY Small Business Employment Law Issues -- Restrictive Covenants Do you screen for restrictive covenants when hiring?  Failure to do so might cost you.  Effective screening during the hiring process can save you a lot of trouble in the future.  Frequently, new-hires are subject to restrictive covenants that you do not know about.  This can expose you to claims even if you were not aware that the employee was subject to a restrictive covenant.

These days, most companies look at departing employees’ computer logs when they receive a notice of departure.  By doing this, they can easily discern not only if the employee has breached his or her restrictive covenants, but also if such employee intends to do so.

You need to be proactive and organized in uncovering any restrictions that new-hires are subject to.  Do not just take a candidate’s word.  Inquire about all possible pre-existing non-disclosure agreement, intellectual property agreements, non-competes and non-solicits.  Contact an employment attorney to learn more about what you can do to safeguard your start-up against employment claims.

New York Non Compete Attorneys

Employers are increasingly trying to prevent employees from leaving their employment and then competing with them.  Whether these non compete agreements are enforceable or not in New York is often a hotly contested issue.  Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC has extensive experience in representing employees and employers in matters involving non compete clauses.  Typically, our New York Non Compete Attorneys handle review of these agreements on an hourly basis and can get started within 24 hours of hearing from you. There are many issues to discuss when it comes to New York Non Compete Agreements. Our attorneys can guide you in many of these. For example, your employer does not have to give you anything in exchange for making you sign a non compete agreement. Similarly, your employer can make you sign a non compete agreement as a condition of continued employment (i.e. "sign or you're fired). Our New York Non Compete Lawyers may be able to help you make sense of it all.

If you have a non compete agreement that you would like to discuss, please contact our New York Non Compete attorneys at 646.524.6001.  One of our New York Non Compete Attorneys will get back to you within 24 hours.

NY Severance Agreement Negotiations

NY Severance Agreement Negotiations NY Severance Agreements are not governed by any particular law, so employees have to get creative when it comes to negotiating a NY Severance Agreement.  Like most things in life, the better you are prepared, the better the result.

Step One – Assess your rights

The first thing you need to do is learn your rights.  Gather all documents related to your employment (e.g. offer letter, contract, handbook, pay stubs, etc.).  Then do your research, is anything about your employment or termination illegal?  Most likely, your employment was “at-will” meaning your employer can fire you for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all – pretty much any reason, except an illegal reason.

So in assessing your rights, you want to think about whether the employer has broken any promises regarding employment and/or compensation and whether you have the basis for credible lawsuit against your employer.  You also want to consider what similar employees received in similar circumstances.  Often, this information is confidential, but if you can learn about it, you’ll be better off.

Step Two – Know what you want

If you’re going to negotiate, know what you want before you go in.  What is obtainable depends on a number of factors, including the status of the employee, the finances of the employer, the circumstances surrounding the termination, and a host of intangibles.

Most people think of severance strictly in terms of money, but you need to be more flexible.  Benefits and perks should be considered as well.  For example, consider the value of staying on the employer’s medical plan, vesting packages, 401(k)s and stock options.  Also, consider your employer’s vacation and sick day policies, if you are entitled to some of that, don’t forget to figure it into your value.

Be creative – think about more than just weeks of pay and straight money payments.

Step Three – Negotiate in good faith

Even people who hire attorneys for advice often handle their negotiations by themselves.  Whether or not to have an attorney conduct your negotiations often comes down to a question of politics.  If you have a good relationship with your employer and think you can work out a good deal on your own, it may be best to handle it on your own.  Conversely, if relationships have deteriorated and you want to be taken seriously, bringing in your attorney sends a clear signal.

Express to the employer that you are serious about your rights, but willing to compromise.  Your employer will want you to sign a release in exchange for any severance agreement.

Without an attorney, this process can be quite difficult.  To best assess your rights, you should contact us for a free initial consultation

NJ Enacts Trade Secret Act

The NJ Trade Secrets Act was signed into law in January 2012.  The Act establishes principles governing the protection of trade secrets and remedies for their misappropriation. The statutory definition of a "trade secret," fundamentally, is information which is: (1) safeguarded, (2) valuable, and (3) not common knowledge.

The Act sets out several remedies for misappropriation of trade secrets. These include injunctive relief and payment of a royalty.  These remedies are not mutually exclusive, but rather can both be awarded to the victim of the misappropriation. The Act also establishes punitive damages, but caps them at double the amount of any award given for damages, such as royalties.  Punitive damages are awarded where the misappropriation is "willful and malicious."  Finally, the Act provides for an award of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to the prevailing party where the misappropriation was "willful and malicious."

We actively follow developments with respect to New York employment law and New Jersey employment law.  We are available to assist employers, employees, newly formed businesses, and investors with protecting trade secrets and addressing any questions or employment law issues.  For more information, please contact us.


Is Payment Required to Make a Non-Compete Enforceable in New York?

There are many factors that are used to determine whether a non-compete is enforceable.  Laws regarding the enforceability of non-competes vary by state, but courts generally weigh several factors in making the determination, including (a) whether the non-compete is reasonable in time and geography, (b) whether the employee was terminated without cause, (c) whether the employee had access to the employer’s secrets, (d) whether the non-compete is necessary to protect the employer’s interest and (e) whether the employee may have been coerced  into signing it.  Under general contract law principles, each side must get something of value in order for a contract to be enforceable (this requirement is referred to as “consideration”). In some states, an employee must receive actual payment in order to meet the consideration requirement for a non-compete.  Other states, including New York (and New Jersey), view continued employment to be sufficient consideration to make a non-compete enforceable and actual payment is not required. If you have any questions about your non-compete or non-competition agreement, please contact Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC.