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Former executive sues bank over employment contract

Many people in Florida are employed under the guidelines of an employment contract. Often used for executive level employees, employment contracts tend to dictate the terms of salary, benefits and severance, among other things.

Employment contracts have the potential to protect both the employer and the employee, however because they are typically written by the employer, it may be important for the employee to have a lawyer review the contract to make sure his or her interests are protected before signing it.

Once a suitable contract is in place, it can still be challenging for employees to get employers to honor their side of the agreement. For example, a former executive of Reliance Bank is currently suing the bank for reportedly failing to honor the terms stipulated in his contract.

The man, who founded the bank in 1999, was terminated by the company in 2011. His contract, however, reportedly guaranteed him salary and benefits through 2012, and he is now seeking one year's salary, retirement plan contributions, and reimbursement for various perks.

The case is quite complex because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has stated that paying the former executive would violate banking regulations. Banks that have received federal assistance under the Troubled Asset Relief Program are barred from paying out golden parachutes. A golden parachute is a payment for the departure of a recipient of TARP assistance.

The man has stated that it is not severance or departure pay that he is requesting, but rather the pay and benefits that would have been paid to him had his employment continued through September 2012 as written in the contract.

The future of this case remains to be seen, but this is an example of how important it is that employment contracts not only protect the interests of both parties but that their contents are legally enforceable.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Banker sues Reliance Bank over pay," Lisa Brown, Feb. 7, 2013

  • To learn more about employment contracts and employment rights, please visit our Broward County law firm's Employment Law page.

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