Use of Nondisclosure Agreements to Protect Your Company

Pennsylvania business attorneys are well-versed in drafting enforceable contracts.Nondisclosure agreements, also referred to as NDAs, are a common legal instrument used by companies to protect sensitive company information. NDAs can be used to protect customer lists, patents, trade secrets and other information that gives a company a competitive advantage.

An NDA protects a company from unauthorized disclosure of its confidential information. Through an NDA, a business can ensure that, whatever information that it shares with others that gives it a competitive advantage, is not shared with competitors. In case the agreement is violated, the business will then have recourse and can seek damages.

When to Use an NDA

Employees – Employees need to have access to a company’s sensitive information to perform their jobs. However, in order to protect the employee from sharing this information with the company’s competitors, businesses should use nondisclosure agreements. An NDA can prevent the employee from taking the information accessed through the job to competitors or use it for its own gain.

Proprietary Information – When a company has proprietary information such as a trade secret, financial information or other sensitive information it should be protected from unauthorized use. An NDA will inform the other party of the confidential nature of the agreement so that the information is not shared with others.

Product Details – When a company is seeking investment from investors or considering licensing with another company to expand its business, it is important to have the other party sign an NDA. An NDA will ensure that the other party knows that the information being shared is proprietary and that it cannot take this information and use it to develop its own product.

Drafting an NDA

A nondisclosure agreement should be drafted such that it protects the company’s assets. An NDA should be clear and provide disincentives for violating it. Therefore, when drafting an NDA, it is important to clearly define the information that is sought to be protected. The terms of the agreement should clearly define the information. If the terms are too broad, the agreement may not be enforceable. It is advisable to clearly define the confidential information.

The agreement should also clearly specify the parties to the agreement as well as the duration of the agreement. Finally, the NDA should create a disincentive for its violation. Usually, a term regarding prevailing party is entitled to attorneys’ fees creates the necessary disincentive. If the party violates the agreement and loses its case, it will not only be liable for damages but also attorneys’ fees.

Every business should utilize a reliable NDA that it can use with employees, investors and potential partners. Drafting an NDA requires diligence, strategy and clarity.

The Pennsylvania business attorneys at MacMain Leinhauser are well-versed in drafting enforceable contracts and can assist your business in developing a strategy and ensuring that your business protects its proprietary information through a strong nondisclosure agreement. For assistance in drafting an NDA, contact us online or at 484-318-7106. Our office is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. We serve clients throughout Chester County, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act

West Chester attorneys have successfully defended government entities from liability.The U.S. government inherited the doctrine of sovereign immunity from England where the king or sovereign was immune from liability. Under the sovereign immunity doctrine, the U.S. government and its employees are immune from suit by virtue of their status as a government entity. The policy behind this immunity is to allow legislators and other government entities to govern without interference from lawsuits.

Even though Federal and state governments may not be sued under this doctrine, there are some exceptions to the rule. Generally, if the government action involves some type of negligence, then the government immunity no longer applies, such as when a person slips and falls on the sidewalk maintained by the state where the dangerous condition of the sidewalk was known and the state did nothing to correct it. Another example would be when a state employee is involved in a motor vehicle accident while on duty. However, a plaintiff who wishes to pursue a negligence claim against the government has to provide strict notice and undergo other procedural hurdles.

Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Immunity Act (Act) waives Pennsylvania’s sovereign immunity in certain limited cases. The Act provides a list of specific instances where the state has waived its immunity. Government entities risk exposure to lawsuits in the following instances.

  • Automobile accidents. When an automobile accident involves a government employee’s fault while on duty, sovereign immunity no longer applies.
  • Medical Malpractice. Negligent acts by public health care employees such as doctors, nurses and medical facilities of the state will trigger the exception to sovereign immunity.
  • Toxoids and vaccines. Government entities may be liable for negligent administration of vaccines or manufacture of toxoids and vaccines.
  • Care, custody or control of personal property or animal. If a person is injured because a government agency negligently cared for an animal or personal property in its’ custody, the injured party may pursue a lawsuit against that agency.
  • Premises liability. If a person is injured due to a dangerous condition on government property, that person can pursue a claim against the government entity in control of that property.
  • Dangerous conditions on roadways. State government is under a duty to maintain its roadways. If it is found that the state government agency knew of a dangerous condition on a roadway and did not take steps to repair it, it may be liable to the injured due to the condition of the roadway.
  • Liquor liability. If a person is injured due to the intoxication of another, they may seek damages against the person or place that sold the liquor. This law can extend to the government when it involves the negligence of state liquor control board.

Recovery is Limited

Plaintiffs who have a claim against a government entity must provide notice to the agency within six months of the occurrence of the incident. Failure to send the appropriate notice with all the necessary information may result in dismissal of the lawsuit. Furthermore, recovery for damages is limited to $250,000 in favor of a Plaintiff and $1,000,000 total recovery is permitted.

Attorneys at MacMain Leinhauser have Successfully Defended Government Entities from Liability

Attorneys at MacMain Leinhauser have obtained numerous dismissals and defense verdicts on behalf of government agencies. Contact our office at 484-318-7106 or online to schedule a consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Chester County.

Should Your Small Business Offer a 401k Plan?

West Chester business lawyers offer sound advice for small businesses offering a 401(k).Every small business should consider setting up a plan for retirement. Retirement planning can help a business owner save for the future, earn money on investments and help with taxes. Moreover, offering retirement benefits attracts good employment candidates. Once employed, the chances of employees remaining with the business increase when the business offers retirement plans as a benefit. Currently, many small businesses offer retirement plans known as the 401(k) Plan.

401(k) Plan

401(k) Plans are a form of retirement savings plan offered by employers that allows workers to save pretax earnings in a retirement account. 401(k) is named after the Internal Revenue Code section that governs these accounts. 401(k) Plans were offered as a supplemental retirement plan in the 1980s when employees realized that pension plans do not offer adequate income during retirement.

The money in the retirement account is invested in a selection of mutual funds. Employees can choose the type of fund they want to invest in depending on their risk profile. Mutual funds are composed of a variety of stocks, bonds, and money market investments. The income is taxed when the employee withdraws from the plan upon retirement.

Employers may choose to contribute up to a certain amount of money to the employee’s 401(k) plan when the employee elects to take the benefit. Employees are often restricted from withdrawing the money contributed by the employer until a vesting period is completed. Also, there are certain restrictions and penalties for withdrawing the money invested in a 401(k) before retirement.

Administration of a 401(k) Plan

Small business owners are busy managing their business and therefore are left with little time to take on administration of retirement plans. Thankfully, today there are many tools and services offered that make it easier for small business owners to administer 401(k) plans.

Technology. There are many technology tools are offered in todays market to help small business owners manage 401(k) plans. These are specific tools catered for small business owners. There are apps and technology tools today that allow companies to streamline the process of cost comparisons and automate the administration and assist employees with built-in investment advising.

Financial Services Company. Many financial companies also offer services to small business to help them manage their employee’s 401(k) plans and provide investment advice. Professional employer organizations, along with human resource and payroll assist in administration of 401(k) plans. When choosing an organization, it is important to choose one that has industry accreditation and minimum requirements.

Why a Small Business Should Offer a 401(k)

Today’s recent graduates are strapped with student loan debts. Increasingly they are searching for employers who will look out for their interests and help them save. Furthermore, higher costs of living associated with rising housing costs has also put pressure on individuals’ finances and their ability to save for retirement.

Offering a 401(k) with employer contributions is an important benefit that will attract good employees. Once these employees know their employer is helping them save and creating ways for their money to grow, they are likely to remain and contribute to the small business. Happy employees will translate into higher productivity and lead to a profitable business.

For information or advice on small business matters, the small business law group attorneys at MacMain Leinhauser offer a wide range of services. Do not hesitate to contact our West Chester office with any small business concerns. Contact us online or by phone at 484-318-7106. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.

Why Employers Should Encourage Use of Vacation Time

West Chester employment lawyers encourage vacations to retain more productive employees.Encouraging the use of vacation time benefits employees, organizations and the economy.

In the modern economy, the greatest economic advantage a company will have is the positive and engaged brainpower of its employees. Human beings need to give their brains a break to be productive and engaged. It is vital for companies to institute polices that encourage their employees to take vacations. Investing in employee’s wellbeing can ultimately boost a company’s bottom line.

Majority of Americans do not use all their vacation time. Many American employees feel discouraged from taking a vacation due to the fear of seeming unproductive or falling behind on their work. However, taking vacation is beneficial to employers, employees and the general economy. Encouraging employees to take a break prevents burn out, boosts creativity, increases engagement in their work, and improves focus and productivity in employees.

Encouraging the use of vacation time also helps employees manage stress as the human brain needs to rest and relax. Vacation time helps employees feel rejuvenated and boosts their brainpower. Even though most U.S. employers provide some paid vacation time, many employees do not feel supported in taking vacation time off. The culture in many companies discourages employees from taking their vacation time. Therefore, employers should invest in changing the work culture and support employees in taking vacations.

Increased Productivity and Creativity

Contrary to popular belief about what constitutes productivity, studies have found that employees are more productive when they take a vacation. When employees are stressed about work and do not get the necessary break, their health can deteriorate. Sick employees are less productive. When the brain gets a break, it can lead to increased creativity.

Increased Retention

Employees who feel encouraged and supported to take vacation will be happier. If they are happy with their employer and feel supported, they will be more engaged and vested in the employer’s success. Overworked employees can burn out, which can cause them to leave their employers. They will likely stay with an employer that they feel cares about their well being.

MacMain Leinhauser has extensive experience in employment law matters. Our office is conveniently located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients in Chester County and Philadelphia. Contact our office at 484-318-7106 or submit an online form to arrange a consultation with one of our seasoned West Chester employment lawyers.