When Boston companies hire a new executive or senior manager, it is standard practice to have the new hire sign an executive employment agreement. This type of employment contract lays out the terms of your employment and compensation — and what you will be allowed to do when you leave the company.
Obviously, this is an important contract. You need to know exactly what is in the executive employment agreement that your prospective employer has offered you before you sign it. Otherwise, you could be stuck with obligations that could seriously damage your career without sufficient compensation to make those restrictions worthwhile.
What you can expect to find in an executive employment agreement
While every employer has its own policies regarding these executive agreements, common terms include:
- A definition of what the employer would fire you “for cause” over, such as embezzlement, fraud or gross misconduct
- A non-compete agreement
- A “notice and cure” provision that requires the employer to explain its reasons for firing you in writing and gives you a certain amount of time to try to cure the problem
- A “good reason” severance clause
As you can see, the agreement focuses a great deal on the employer’s right to terminate the executive and the executive’s right to respond or continue their career within the industry. These terms may be negotiable to some extent, but the employer may insist on certain other segments of the contract and make the job offer contingent on your signing it.
With so much at stake, you cannot just sign the agreement and hope for the best. It is important that you retain an employment law attorney to review its terms and explain them to you in detail. Knowing the consequences of what you are signing (or requesting a change first) gives you the best possible control and protection over your career.