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Employment Disputes and Negotiations

Whether it’s the excitement of a new dream job, the anxiety and concern of a recent termination, or being the target of an HR or compliance investigation, IMcP’s employment lawyers can negotiate, advocate for, and provide navigation on, crucial next steps.

The Beginning: Negotiating an Employment Agreement

Ah, the beginning. The honeymoon stage. An employee and employer have decided that they are a perfect fit, excited about working together, and sure the relationship will last forever. Seem familiar? Much like a marriage, an employment relationship is intense, time-consuming, and highly emotional. Also much like a marriage, an employee or executive is well-served by the well-worn strategy to “hope for the best” but “plan for the worst” by negotiating protections in the event the relationship goes south. The window in the employment relationship when employees and executives have the most leverage in guaranteeing these protections is at the beginning, or when the employer targets you as the best person for the job.

Executives often are focused, as they should be, on being effective in their new role. That is natural. But they are also best served by working diligently on the details of their executive agreement.

You are well-served by seeking professional advice and guidance by a law firm that focuses on employment-related contracts to help negotiate your employment agreement before you start a new job. As another maxim warns: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The Middle: Compliance/HR Investigation or the Dreaded “Executive Coaching”

At some point, the employment relationship starts to sour. You are called in by HR or compliance. There’s been an anonymous complaint about improper expenses, or abusive language in the workplace. Are you entitled to know who is accusing you? Shouldn’t you have the right to confront the accuser? Is HR or compliance even required to tell you the substance of the complaint or comment made? If HR or compliance finds wrongdoing, can I just be fired or must there be a warning first? What if the Company doesn’t comply with its own written procedures?

These are all case specific and employer specific questions because no two situations are identical. You need a careful review of all the facts, policies, and “what-ifs.” You must proceed cautiously. You must prepare thoroughly for any and all potential questions thrown at you in an interview. Your career is at stake, especially with a finding of “for cause” for termination.

Also, any suggestion by the Company that you take “executive coaching” should be seen for what it most likely (but not always) is: creation of an excuse for the Company to terminate you by the “independent” executive coach. Prepare accordingly.

The End: Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, and Compensation Disputes

Unfortunately, the end is not typically as sweet as the beginning, and it is easy to get “crossways” with your employer. Maybe you are being replaced by someone younger and cheaper, with your supervisor pining for “new blood” in the organization. Perhaps you spurned the advances of a boss or the boss’s good friend, and since then duties have been taken away, raises stalled, and reviews turned negative. Whether your termination is just a legitimate “at will” decision or something more nefarious and illegal isn’t always so cut and dry.

There are also usually a lot more questions at the end of an employment relationship. Can my Company really withhold my year-end bonus I earned by hitting sales goals? What happens to my big commissions on sales the company has booked but not yet paid? What happens to my equity? If I take the severance, can I still sue for wrongful termination?

Beginning, middle or end, IMcP’s employment lawyers have seen (almost) it all. We can help you plan for, survive, and sail through these treacherous waters.

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