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Employment and Severance Agreements

The Spencer Fane Labor and Employment team assists employers of all sizes in appropriately documenting all aspects of their relationships with employees from start to finish. Whether dealing with new hires or ending employment, our attorneys proactively work to protect a company’s interests at every expected and unexpected turn and help clients avoid potential exposure to costly claims including breach of contract, wrongful termination, and discrimination.

Our attorneys serve as advisers, developing an understanding of our client’s business to provide them with tailored guidance and preventative steps that can reduce the risk of expensive litigation. We are also able to help the organization develop its competitive position in the marketplace with agreements that are designed to provide tools that protect the company while attracting and retaining top talent.

Our collaborative approach with our clients begins with drafting or reviewing executive and employee agreements that often involve restrictive covenants, noncompetes, and other effective terms that protect an organization’s investment in its goodwill and proprietary information, such as customer data and trade secrets. We also assist organizations in drafting these agreements to protect assets when issues sometimes do occur post- employment. Our practitioners are also skilled at advising and implementing other kinds of agreements, such as individually-tailored arbitration agreements, in the best way for the company.

Not only does our full-service approach allow us to address employment law issues that arise, but we also draw on the strength of our Employee Benefits and Tax colleagues, along with Intellectual Property and industry-specific practice groups to understand the full picture of a specific client’s needs. We understand the risks our clients face and help them to implement compliant and legally sound agreements that protect their interests.

On the other side of the employment relationship, we help employers navigate the wide variety of potentially costly litigation scenarios they can face with severance agreements and terminations. This can involve issues surrounding large reductions in staff, individual terminations, and incentivizing employees to stay on the job when layoffs are looming. Our goal is to minimize the potential for employment lawsuits and EEOC charges, and put the client in the strongest position possible when litigation becomes necessary.

Representative Experience

  • Advised client in connection with reduction in force occasioned by closure of certain company offices. Effectively implemented severance program, along with retention bonus program for a select group of employees who were retained for a short period of time. Although this involved a sizable group of employees departing the company, the agreements were implemented in a compliant manner and the company obtained effective and enforceable releases from all employees impacted by the reduction in force.
  • Working with our corporate transactional and securities attorneys, we have assisted multiple clients in negotiating executive employment agreements that provide for appropriate executive compensation, including equity compensation, while protecting the company’s investment in its goodwill and intellectual property.
  • On multiple occasions, we have assisted clients with implementation of effective and enforceable arbitration agreements with all employees. These agreements have included jury trial waivers and waivers of class and collective actions, protecting management from costly representative actions by multiple employees.