Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

What is reasonable in an employment contract?

I was just reading this column from the Economist last month, on the topic (partly) of employment contracts, and it has me curious about how people feel about them.

I'm pretty passionate about this topic: my past couple of jobs have involved carefully-written riders exempting my various major ideas from company ownership. My contract with Memento specifically said that the company had no rights whatsoever to Querki (yes, I've been planning this project for a *long* time), and I spent a solid month negotiating with them about the details. (And that's with a company whose base contract was better than average.) My current plan is that Querki's standard employment contract won't include anything that I wouldn't be willing to sign. I figure that what I lose in handcuffs on the employees, I gain in making the company more interesting to the really smart folks I'm going to want to hire, and that matters more.

I am curious about whether anybody else gives a damn about this stuff, though. What sorts of rights have you signed away to your employers? Have you minded? Have you ever demanded negotiation of an employment contract's IP provisions? What do you think is reasonable and appropriate in such a contract, and what isn't? I have strong opinions here, but I have no clue how much of an outlier I really am...
Tags: business

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