Full Disclosure: I was employed by a major company in the industry. While employed a patent was applied for in a discipline not involved in my work for the company. I had signed a PIIAA (Proprietary Information and Inventions Assignment Agreement) that excluded things in the past and specifically by addendum (signed by both parties) the area of work of the patent. That company was bought by a publicly traded company which was then bought by a bigger publicly traded company.
The newer, bigger company decided that the application for patent occurred after my employment (true) therefore wasn't coveed by work in the past (I had been working on it for 10 years, and had done no work on it while employed)), and that in their attorney's the addendum was "too broad" and therefore not enforcable.
A lawsuit followed leading to a sealed settlement about which I am precluded by the settlement agreement from discussing. It is a public record that I am the sole owner of the patent. The attorneys fees on my side were well over 6 figures. Read into the settlement agreement what you will, but we wanted the settlement agreement to be published. Copies of the public court records and other information available upon request.
I have recently been offered a position with a respected firm (on the smallish side, and a government contractor exclusively). Within the offer is the requirement that I attend orientation and sign an employment agreement and additional documents.
I asked for a copy of the documents to be signed in advance so that they can be reviewed.
Their response was that it is not their policy to provide these documents in advance. I will have plenty of time to review them at the orientation (30 minutes) on the first day of work.
I did not countersign their offer and it has expired (3 days to sign).
Is this a sign of the times, and new "best practices", or is it an aberration. Honestly how would you have handled it?
It's pretty common to have to accept a job offer before you see the contract. Most companies won't even send the documentation unless you've accepted the offer. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If any onerous and restrictive conditions in the paperwork turn out to be part of the company culture you can always terminate your employment.
The restrictive convenants to look out for in contracts are the non compete clauses which would only be reasonable for senior positions and if you can extract sufficient compensation to off set them.
----------------------------------------------------------- Steve Wilme CISSP-ISSAP, ISSMP MCIIS