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Business technology: legal protection.

Knowledge-based business needs and depends on skilled employees who are privy to your business' confidential information. But this is a doubled-edged sword. They may also may place your business in a vulnerable position if they have not entered into an employment agreement. Such agreements contain conditions of work. At a minimum they should deal with confidentiality, protection of hardware and software, developments, non-competition, and non-solicitation.

An employment agreement should contain a confidentiality provision where the employees agrees, among other things, to keep all matters relating to company business confidential.

A broad protection provision and a comprehensive technology protection policy are integral to a knowledge-based business.

The development of new ideas and products - developments is crucial. "Developments" can cover a long list and may include all software, documentation, data, designs, reports, flowcharts, trademarks, specification, and source code listings and creative work done during the employment.

Employees may leave or be asked to leave a knowledge-based business. Although an employment agreement cannot restrict an employee from plying his or her trade, it can provide a knowledge-based business with a period of time in which the employee cannot compete with his former employer.

Lastly, an employee leaving the employ of a knowledge-based business may attempt to take other employees with him or her? That situation could be devastating. Therefore an employment agreement should contain wording to cover that area.

There are many other important provisions that should be included in a complete employment agreement. If you have not entered into an employment agreement with each of your employees, you should not be asking yourself whether you can afford to have such agreements prepared, but rather whether you can afford not to.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Manitoba Business Ltd.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Robson, Graham E.
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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