Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on November 12th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

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“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

– Unknown

So simple. So simply put. So simply applied. And so true. Whether at work, at home, or elsewhere, bear in mind that the darkness is the messenger of the coming light.

This quote was shared with us by our good friend, Denise of Wantagh, New York, who lives with this spirit each and every day. Your reminder, Denise, is greatly appreciated. Namaste. If you would like to submit a proverb, quote or thought, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com.

Need a model memo or letter to transmit a request or complaint? A good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Sample Agreements, Just [click here.]

Interested in Membership? It’s free, and has advantages, including discounts on our products. Just [click here.]

Need a private telephone consultation? Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can usually be accommodated.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Have a ‘Pre-Existing Creation?’ Protect it in Interviews and Job Offers

Published on November 7th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

 
“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

– Criss Jami

ACTUAL CASE HISTORIES: Adelisa, 38, had a rock-solid resume as an Analytics Design Specialist, having been employed by a list of impressive hedge fund employers. She was an expert in assisting Quantitative Analysts design software and algorithms to better predict investment performance. Her experience, skills and industry relations were such that she received recruitment inquiries almost weekly. For a few years, she was on her own as an independent contractor, but was now a mother of two young girls, and had become far more interested in the comfort afforded by a weekly paycheck.

One inquiry she received from a large hedge fund intrigued her so much that she entered into serious talks with them for a senior executive position that included very substantial compensation, great working flexibility and significant job security.

I had worked with Adelisa several times before, each time she climbed the “career ladder.” When she contacted me this time, she had already received a “standard” employment contract from her potential employer. I noticed right away that it was heavily laden with many detailed provisions intended to protect the employer from employees “stealing” creations, inventions, proprietary information and trade secrets. The entire employment agreement consisted of 8 pages, 4 of which were devoted to the subject of protecting the employer’s intellectual property.

Adelisa had the “mirror image” concern. That is, over the course of several years, on her own time she had developed what she referred to as her “Golden Goose,” which was a computer program she had created entirely by herself, years ago, while working as an independent contractor. As best I can explain it (they didn’t teach this stuff in law school), it was “an algorithmic-based platform that could ‘carry’ various data packages to test predictive capacities.” Adelisa said it was actually based on “digital intuition,” and was a type of artificial intelligence.

Her “mirror image” concern was how she could use her “Golden Goose” on the job, yet not lose any of her rights in and to it. The draft employment agreement, like most, provided that anything and everything she might use to do her work for this employer would automatically be deemed the employer’s sole property. She asked if we could help her respond to that language, in order to protect her “Golden Goose.”

It was an interesting project, and the results were well worth it. First, her new job went very well, and her compensation was very significant. And, when, years later, she eventually departed from the company for “greener pastures,” there were no disputes, no claims, and no threats regarding her “Golden Goose,” which was precisely her goal. Mission accomplished.

LESSON TO LEARN: With few exceptions, everything in life – and that includes work life – can be “navigated and negotiated” in wise ways. Taking care, when entering into new work relations, to try to prevent problems from arising in the future, is the wisest of wise ways, and always worth the effort.

In two ways, employees often lose their rights in their pre-existing creations: (1) law (the “Work for Hire” rule), and (2) by agreements they are asked to sign (often called “Assignment Agreements). In this blog post, we address both, and the ways prospective employees can and should protect their “pre-existing creations” in the context of interviewing and job offers.

As a few examples, they include software, works of art, written materials, musical compositions, visual and audio presentations, and inventions. By law, they are materials that can be (a) copyrighted, (b) trademarked and/or (c) patented. By means of self-help – our favorite topic for employees – they can take steps that can protect themselves, and might be just as good, or better.

While each employee’s “pre-existing creations” are unique, and each employment dynamic is unique, there are some generalized observations we can share to assist in the process of protecting employees’ “pre-existing creations.”

As the quote above reminds us, “Create with the heart; build with the mind.” I would simply add, “And then protect what you create as best you can.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are 12 pointers for employees in Adelisa’s “shoes.” This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover most of the critical points most employees need to understand:
Continue Reading. . .

Election Day

Published on November 5th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don’t care what anyone says: though politics may be corrupted by big money, full of egotistical grandstanders, or stuck in a gridlock, voting is important. The idea that, no matter how much or little money a person has, no one has more than one vote, is just so extraordinarily powerful. In an age of such great turmoil, voting affirms our individual importance, the relevance of our choices, and our personal responsibility. I say everyone should vote, if just to tell those who want to retain their political positions, “Serve people, not yourselves, or you will lose your many privileges, your great prestige, and your power, too.” Please go and vote. Please.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on November 5th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

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“People forget the years and remember the moments.”

– Ann Beattie

It’s quite something. I bet you remember the moment you received your last job offer, and, too, the moment you received your most recent promotion. The years in between? Well, they seem to go by in a blur. The same goes, too, for the day you were married, or committed to your partner, and the days your kids were born, too. At work and elsewhere, make the most of those moments; give them a lively, memorable celebration. They truly do live forever.

This quote was shared with us by Marlene of East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. Thanks for the “sweet moment,” Marlene. If you would like to submit a proverb, quote or thought, please submit it to us at vanessa@executivelaw.com.

Need a model memo or letter to transmit a request or complaint? A good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Sample Agreements, Just [click here.]

Interested in Membership? It’s free, and has advantages, including discounts on our products. Just [click here.]

Need a private telephone consultation? Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can usually be accommodated.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

Work for Hire – Key Words & Phrases

Published on October 30th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

Key Words

What is meant by:

Work for Hire”?

A “work for hire” (or “work made for hire”) is an item of creative content that was made on the job. Examples include written works, data analyses, visual presentations, songs, computer code and programs, and useful forms and booklets.

If the creation was made during the period of employment, and is related in some way to the job, the law says that it is a “work for hire” and thus owned entirely by the employer.

What happens if you created it before you started your job, but you used it on your job? Chances are your employer will consider it theirs.

What happens if you created it in your spare time, say, on the weekends? Chances are your employer will consider it theirs.

What happens if it was entirely yours, but you shared it with colleagues, and they used it on the job? Chances are your employer will consider it theirs.

Many employers go further, and insist that their employees sign agreements, often as part of their initial offer letters, that provide that even if you conceived of the idea behind the creation, or improved it, while employed, you must agree it is a “work for hire” and “hereby sign over all rights to the employer.”

As an employee, you need to be vigilant. You can take steps to protect your creative works from being considered a “work for hire” and thus lost.

Steps that you can take include, (i) not sharing your creative works during interviews, (ii) being vigilant about anything you sign, (iii) not bringing into the office or uploading your creative works to your employer’s computers, and (iv) not using your creative works in conjunction with your job.

Still further, you can seek a letter, memo or agreement with your prospective or present employers that protects your creative work(s) from being lost or given up.

You don’t need to lose your rights to your creative works, writings, and inventions. And, you definitely don’t need disputes, lawsuits or legal fees.

You do need to be careful. There is a fierce competition for great ideas, and the valuable creations that come from them.

Forewarned is forearmed.

More information on Protecting Your Creations can be found [here].

For a Model Letter requesting Rights in Your Creations on Your Present Job, just [Click Here.]

Need to send a model memo or letter to make a request or complaint? A good checklist or form agreement? For a complete list of our Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Sample Agreements, Just [click here.]

Interested in Membership? It’s free, and has advantages, including discounts on our products. Just [click here.]

Need a private telephone consultation? Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can usually be accommodated.

© 2018 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.


Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 35 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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