By Linda Tepedino and Muriel Watkins
Examples of information to review during the discovery phase:
All employment agreements and consulting agreements to which the company or any of its subsidiaries is a party.
Documents representing any bonus, deferred compensation or incentive compensation plans, programs, perks or agreements. Documents describing all sales incentive plans, contests or commission plans, including individual goals, payout targets, and achieved goals and payouts for the previous year and year to date.
Documents regarding medical, dental, hospitalization, severance, disability, pension, profit-sharing and other employee benefits plans of the company and its subsidiaries. This includes documents related to multi-employer plans, such as plan documents, insurance contracts, trust agreements and summary plan descriptions and amendments to any of the foregoing.
All stock option, employee stock purchase and restricted stock plans and any other plans providing for the issuance of stock to employees, including all forms of option agreements relating thereto.
Job descriptions for key employees and performance appraisals. Any documentation of disciplinary action for any staff member during the last six to 12 months.
A description of the hiring and background check process. Have background checks been completed for key staff?
Ongoing or past lawsuits or claims of harassment or discrimination from employees.
Employee turnover rate along with explanatory details.
Details of any retention agreements.
A full list of employees, including name, job title, start date, shift, status, current salary, last pay increase, bonus target and most recent payout, and eligibility for any other compensation plan.
Any outstanding payouts of separation.
Description of any special work arrangements.
Linda Tepedino is vice president of human resources at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, in Yonkers, N.Y. Muriel Watkins is president of MRW Consulting in Guttenberg, N.J.