By: Reed Boothby, JD Candidate 2023 | UCalgary Law
As start-up’s grow, there often comes a time when they must hire staff. Employment matters are occasionally given less attention than other business, such as raising capital or generating sales, for instance. Employment matters should not be overlooked, however, as the process of hiring and managing employees is an important aspect of a start-up’s success.
A written employment agreement defines various rights and obligations between the employer and employee for the purposes of reducing the risk of future dispute and liability. Without a written employment agreement, disputes between the employee and employer will be resolved by applying common law principles and looking for evidence of the parties’ intentions from pre-employment conduct and communications, which may lead to uncertain and potentially undesirable outcomes.
A written employment agreement can reduce risk by expressly establishing the relations between the employer and employee, including matters relating to (non-exhaustive):
Employment matters are a crucial aspect to the viability of many start-ups. A start-up can limit future risks related to hiring and maintaining its staff by setting out important matters within an employment agreement, such as (among others): Job Description; Termination; Intellectual Property rights; Confidentiality; Non-competition; and Non-solicitation. For assistance drafting an employment agreement or for further information about the contents of this blog, please contact the BLG Business Venture Clinic.
 Bryce Tingle, Start-Up and Growth Companies in Canada, 3rd ed (Canada: LexisNexis, 2018) at page 126. [“Tingle’]
 Tingle, at page 128.
 Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000, c E-9; See also Machiner v Hoj Industries Ltd., S.C.J. No. 41,  1 S.C.R. 986.
 Tingle, at page 130.
 Tingle, page 136; See also GD Searle & Co. v. Novopharm Ltd.,  F.C.J. No. 625,  S.C.C.A No. 340 (S.C.C.).
 Tingle, page 136.
 Practical Law Canada Employment, “Employee Confidentiality and Non-disclosure Agreements” (2023), online: < https://ca.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/9-621-6711>.
 Practical Law Canada Employment, “Employee Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Agreements” (2023), online: <https://ca.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/3-619-0337>; See also Tingle, at page 131.
 Ibid; See also Tingle, at page 135.
Blog posts are by students at the Business Venture Clinic. Student bios appear under each post.