Practicing Prevention

Portland Contract Attorney

Vancouver Employment lawyer

Employment Law

The growing trends in employment law mandate that companies take preventive measures to minimize the potential for litigation and employment-related claims. More importantly, many of the current laws and judicial developments protect companies that take proactive steps to protect themselves.

Virtually every management or corporate decision in the employment area has the potential to result in years of litigation, costly damage awards or settlements, and intensive regulation by federal and state agencies. Inaction by management, including the failure to recognize and address potential employment-related inadequacies and problems, can produce similar negative results. The failure to appreciate and recognize potential causes of action for wrongful discharge and status-based discrimination, or the failure to comply with the ever growing number of federal and state employment laws and regulations (e.g. wage and hour, health and safety, and family and medical leave laws) can produce disastrous results.

Intellectual Property Law
Nearly every company has trade secrets, copyrights, or technology it might wish to patent. The potential legal problems in this area are vast, ranging from loss of protection for a trade secret to tens of millions of dollars in patent infringement liability. But again, prevention is the key to minimizing liability and protecting your company's information. Every company should initiate an intellectual property audit in order to develop an inventory of its protectable information. Then, a protection program can be designed to best protect this information and maintain a company's competitive advantage.

Trade secret law provides an excellent example of the need for preventive measures. Once a trade secret is not secret it will not be protected. There may be a potential to recover if the secret was misappropriated, but in many cases it is an employee within an organization that accidentally or intentionally reveals the secret to a competitor. In fact, competitive intelligence professionals report that their best source of information is a poorly trained employee. Therefore, the need for regular training to instill the importance of confidentiality in each employee is critical. Furthermore, developing a system that ensures minimal exposure and maximum confidentiality of trade secrets is vital to their continued value.

Contracts
Every company deals with contracts on a daily basis. Contracts are unique in that the parties are essentially creating the law that will govern their relationship. Thus, a poorly drafted contract can lead to unintended liabilities or leave a company unexpectedly vulnerable. In no other area is prevention more easily accomplished. Professional review or creation of a contract will minimize unintended liabilities and is the best way to ensure your company's expectations are fully met.

Prevention is the Best Medicine
Limiting liability and protecting information is best accomplished using proactive methods. Companies too often incur unanticipated disputes and problems. Those that initiate preventive measures avoid costly distractions and by doing so maintain the effectiveness of their operations.