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Senior Executives

Hiring top-level and senior executives can be a complicated matter, as their employment often comes with a wide range of fringe benefits, complex bonus arrangements and incentive schemes. Both employers and employees should exercise care when negotiating their employment contracts and pay particular attention to legal issues that relate specifically to senior executives, such as bonuses, share option schemes, notice periods for termination of employment, garden leave, confidentiality agreements and restrictive covenants.

Furthermore, managing the departure of senior executives can be fraught with legal issues due to their positions of power and responsibility, and access to employers’ trade secrets or highly confidential information.  To employers, it is important to ensure that restrictive covenants are adequately drafted at the time the employment contract is entered into to avoid and manage any possible adverse impacts on their daily business operations, interest and goodwill arising from the senior executive’s departure.  Meanwhile, departing employees should review their employment contracts thoroughly in order to avoid any breach of their contractual or other obligations to ensure a smooth transition to their next employment.

We handle all areas of employment legal advice with a strong focus on issues affecting top-level and senior executives and managers.  We advise and represent both local and multinational companies as well as employees across different sectors and industries on senior executive issues.  Our broad-ranging employment coverage includes employment law matters ranging from employment due diligence, sensitive terminations of top-level executives, advice relating to team moves and breach of contractual and fiduciary duties by senior employees, discrimination claims, and strategic advice to human resources departments in relation to group reorganisations and workplace restructuring.  Our in-depth experience enables us to handle negotiations between parties in a cost-effective way.  We anticipate and effectively handle employment disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or, if necessary, legal proceedings.

Our team provides the following services:

  • advising on hiring and termination of executive or non-executive directors, senior executives and members of professional organisations;
  • negotiating and drafting employment contracts for senior executives;
  • advising on employee benefits and incentive schemes;
  • advising on disputes concerning share option schemes;
  • advising on disciplinary and grievance issues;
  • drafting and formulating severance packages or settlement agreements upon termination of employment;
  • engaging in negotiations with senior human resources directors and company lawyers;
  • advising on post-termination restraints such as non-solicitation, non-compete and non-dealing clauses;
  • advising on confidentiality issues and protection of intellectual property rights; and
  • advising on secondment of employees from and to Hong Kong offices, working visa and tax issues.

Credentials of our lawyers in this area include:

  • Advised on breaches of confidentiality, contractual duties, fiduciary duties, and duty of fidelity, and infringement of client’s proprietary rights over client’s data by a former senior employee, who had joined a competitor.  Assisted client in swiftly settling the matter;
  • Advised client on the summary dismissal of an employee based on dishonesty and breach of trust.  The former employee threatened to commence proceedings against client at the Labour Tribunal for wrongful dismissal.  Assisted client in settling the matter swiftly without client paying a penny to the former employee; and
  • Advised client on dismissal of a senior executive who had threatened to bring claims against client for unreasonable dismissal, breach of good faith and rationality implied term of her employment contract, and discrimination including disability discrimination, sex and/or marital status discrimination, and family status discrimination.

 If you would like to seek advice on senior executive issues, please contact us at (852) 2810 1212 or at employment@onc.hk.

Please refer to our articles in ‘Knowledge’

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