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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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There, I started work with a start up 5 months ago. The

Resolved Question:

Hi there,
I started work with a start up 5 months ago. The basis was equity with 3 others.
I have provided the branding and work and all assets which they are now using for their gain. I was never an employee or under contract because they said they would compensate me with equity.
I have left and I have asked for compensation and they say I signed an NDA, and under that NDA I was an employee so all rights of work goes to them. I was not an employee, there was not dates or salary set.
I wish for them to remove my work or compensate, but they are failing to communicate, what can I do here if anything?
Regards
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.
Did you have anything in writing to set out how you were to be compensated for this work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi there,

I have only emails and meetups that state I will be compensated by a form of salary later on and also equity. I told them to equity was too small they said they would sort it, and in the meantime I kept working and they kept pushing me to ask me for work and files. Which they have.

They sent me a NDA and i signed that and they are now saying that I signed it as an employee. I was not an employee, isnt that standard with salary?

Where do I stand here? I worked for months so they owe me a I feel a standard fee, or compensation to now be using all my work for the company and gaining for free.

Thanks

Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hi they are in breach of at least the Working Time Regulations for failing to pay you for this work. It is difficult to determine exactly what you are owed by them without evidence in writing but you can claim the amount they had agreed they would pay you by form of salary or benefits.
You can claim this as an unlawful deduction from wages/ breach of contract.
You should write a letter before action to ask them to pay you and say if they do not you will take them to the Employment Tribunal.
If they do not pay you you need then to contact ACAS to start early conciliation and then lodge a claim. You must do this within 3 months of the work stopping.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi there,

I heard back from the company and they stated below - am I stupid to continue?

Dear Adele,



Firstly, you do understand that if you were given equity, it would be “vested” over a 4 year period. No one in no company or start up is given straight equity. This means, should you have worked with BiteMiles Ltd. for 1 year, your equity would have started vesting and you would have 1/4 of the agreed upon %. It is really your own fault that you did not turn up to the compensation committee meeting. ( http://www.quora.com/What-does-4-years-vesting-with-1-year-cliff-mean)



Secondly, if you wanted to have ownership over the work you have made whilst working for BiteMiles Ltd., you should have made us sign a freelancer contract stating so. Since you did not, and since you do not consider yourself ever working as an “employee” of BiteMiles Ltd., what you have done is merely volunteered your time. And that’s your own issue.

As previously stated. I would like to bring your attention to a section from the NDA that you signed. It is clearly stated in 2. and 3. that you have no right over the work you have produced whilst working for BiteMiles Ltd. Any and all deliverables are ownerships of “The Company,” i.e. BiteMiles Ltd.


2. The Employee hereby assigns to BiteMiles Ltd. all of the existing and future Intellectual Property Rights in the Deliverables. This assignment is for the full term of the assigned rights, including all extensions, renewals, reversions and revivals. 


3. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law:

a. The Employee irrevocably and unconditionally waives all moral rights (including rights of paternity and rights of integrity) in respect of the Deliverables to which the Employee may at any time be entitled; and 


b. The Employee undertakes to ensure that all individuals involved in the preparation of the deliverables will irrevocably and unconditionally waive all moral rights (including rights of paternity and rights of integrity) in respect of the Deliverables to which they may at any time be entitled. 




Now if you wish to take this to a lawyer, please feel free to do so.

Adele
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
Hi I think you should pursue them , they have no right to expect you to work for free and then retain rights to your work.
I would suggest you claim at least the minimum wage in respect of the hours you have put in.
I would also suggest you see a local litigation solicitor to assist you with this.
They often give a free initial consultation for free.
If you have any further questions please do ask. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
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