Our clients need to know what benefits and incentives are being offered in the marketplace and how to structure and implement employment agreements and benefit plans embodying those programs when the time is right. Our attorneys advise clients ranging from startups to mature businesses on the broad range of issues they face related to employee compensation and benefits and the terms of employment agreements. Whether it is setting up an appropriate stock option program for a client’s employees, directors and consultants, or structuring incentive compensation, phantom stock, deferred compensation or change of control provisions in an employment agreement for a key executive critical to the client’s future success, or setting up a new company-wide benefit plan, we have the necessary experience to help our clients meet their needs. Here, in the heart of Silicon Valley, our experience with equity-based programs and the customary provisions of employment agreements is critical in helping our clients establish the right programs to attract and retain the right people. We are also a trusted advisor for our clients on programs where privacy laws, ERISA, COBRA, and HIPAA regulations, and other state and federal laws regulating benefit plans must be considered. If an employment agreement is being implemented, we collaborate with our Litigation Group when sensitive questions of interpretation, dispute resolution or enforceability could play a critical role in the negotiation or drafting of the final agreement.
Commission Plans and Disputes:
An attorney who is asked to help his or her client draft a commission plan needs a complete understanding of the client’s product or service and how the salesperson earns commissions. Every business has its own way of calculating and paying commissions, and the scope of the salesperson’s efforts required to earn a commission will vary by industry, product, and employer. Drafting a plan that both accomplishes the client’s goals and complies with applicable legal requirements may require discussions with the client about the details of how its plan works, alternatives to when commissions are earned or paid, and how elements of the plan may conflict with laws prohibiting forfeitures or improper deductions from the commission calculation. We work with clients in a variety of industries – web-based services, scientific instrumentation, testing equipment, consulting, construction materials, printing and publishing, and food service and hospitality, to name a few – to help balance their legal obligations and their business goals. If claims arise, either in court or before the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, we work with our clients to protect their interests.