Even though California has a default employment status of “at will,” it is prudent to properly document the employment relationship. This is true, even if the employment relationship is an “at-will” relationship. At a minimum, the parties should execute an at-will statement, so there is no misunderstanding as to the nature of the employment relationship.
Employment Agreement vs. Employee Handbook
There are essentially two ways to document the employment relationship. The first is through a written Employment Agreement, which details the duties and obligations of both parties, the compensation of the employee and the benefits the employee will receive. This can be useful if there are only a few employees, or if the employee is a Senior Executive who has different benefits or methods of compensation than the typical employee.
The second way to document the employment relationship is through an Employee Handbook, which typically contains all of the policies and procedures of the company, in addition to the benefits offered to eligible employees. An Employee Handbook is usually much more comprehensive than an Employment Agreement, and discusses such policies as the various types of leaves of absence available, how to request a leave of absence, how vacation pay is calculated, the company’s policy against discrimination and harassment, conflicts of interest, and other company-specific policies.
Other Employee Agreements
There are several other employee-related agreements that may be incorporated into the Employment Agreement or the Employee Handbook such as, Non-Disclosure Agreements, Non-Solicitation Agreements, Invention and Proprietary Rights Agreements, and Confidentiality Agreements.
Non-Compete Agreements are a very hot topic right now and are the source of many employment disputes. Although post-termination non-compete agreements are generally not valid in California, a Non-Compete Agreement may be valid during the employment relationship. In addition, a company is permitted to protect and maintain the confidentiality of the company’s trade secrets.
Talk To Our Attorneys About Your Employment Agreement Today
If you are an employer and are in need of properly documenting your employment relationships, the attorneys at Branfman Mayfield Bustarde Reichenthal, LLP, can assist you. Contact us online or call 858.793.8090 today for a initial phone conversation with one of our experienced lawyers to advise you of the proper employment agreements for your situation.