Navigating Executive Employment Disputes

Executive employment disputes can involve compensation, termination, severance, and any other disagreements among C-suite executives and the companies they work for.

At Tomlinson Bomsztyk Russ, we help executives navigate employment contracts from beginning to end. Whether you are starting a new job, dealing with a compensation issue, or moving on, we can help you.

What Is Considered C-Level?

A company’s most important senior executives are considered C-level, according to Investopedia. Examples of C-suite executives include:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Analytics Officer (CAO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • Chief Data Officer (CDO)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)
  • Chief Human Resources Manager (CHRM)
  • Chief Security Officer (CSO)
  • Chief Green Officer (CGO)

Typically, C-level executives bring years of experience and leadership skills to a corporation. As the most important and influential group of employees at a company, C-suite executives have high-stress jobs and receive very high compensation.

What Is an Executive Employment Agreement?

An executive employment agreement is an employment contract between a C-suite executive and their employer. Per the CEOWORLD magazine, the agreement “establishes key contractual obligations and expectations between the executive and the employer.”

Usually, this means the agreement outlines an executive’s job responsibilities and the compensation and benefits they will receive in exchange.

C-level executives should always negotiate the terms of their executive employment agreement with a skilled lawyer by their side. Even when starting an exciting high-level job, executives should also know what happens if the employment arrangements do not work out.

Once an executive employment agreement is signed, both executives and employers must honor it.

C-suite executives come to our firm when employers refuse to honor bonuses, executive equity (stock options), or other kinds of compensation. Other times they approach our firm with questions about noncompetition (i.e. noncompete) agreements or wrongful discharge.

Our attorneys also help C-level executives terminate their contracts and negotiate severance packages.

Can Executives Avoid Employment Disputes?

Yes. Often, C-level executives have us review their executive employment agreements to help avoid future mistakes and misunderstandings. We are happy to review contracts and identify potential areas of concern, especially when it comes to compensation tied to overall company performance (like restricted stock options).

If either the company or the executive needs to leave an executive employment agreement early, we can also draft terms to handle this situation before a dispute arises.

Executive employment agreements not only protect both parties if something goes wrong but also reduce the risk of something going wrong, in the first place.

When Is It Time to Hire an Attorney?

When you have reached the height of your career as a C-level executive, you should never sign anything without having an attorney review it. As soon as you receive a job offer and an executive employment agreement, hire an attorney to review the contract and help you negotiate the most favorable terms possible.

Tomlinson Bomsztyk Russ has been helping C-suite executives navigate their careers for decades, and our team stands behind a track record of success. We have built long relationships with our clients, and we want to be by your side during this exciting time in your life and throughout your career.

Whether you want to avoid executive employment disputes or you need help navigating one in court, do not hesitate to call us at (206) 203-8009 or contact us online for a strategic consultation.

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