Employment Agreement, dated September 5, 2019, by and between the Zeno Management, Inc. and Melissa Epperly
THIS EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT (this Agreement) is entered into by and between Zeno Management, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the Company) and a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeno Pharma, LLC (the Parent), and Melissa Epperly (Executive), and shall be effective as of September 5, 2019 (the Effective Date).
WHEREAS, the Company desires to employ Executive, and Executive desires to commence employment with the Company, on the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises herein contained, the parties agree as follows:
1. Definitions. As used in this Agreement, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) Board means the Board of Directors of the Company.
(b) Cause means any of the following:
(i) Executives unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential information or trade secrets of the Company or its affiliates or any material breach of a written agreement between Executive and the Company or any affiliate, including without limitation a material breach of any employment, confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicit or similar agreement;
(ii) Executives commission of, indictment for or the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere by Executive to, a felony under the laws of the United States or any state thereof or any crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude (or any similar crime in any jurisdiction outside the United States);
(iii) Executives gross negligence or willful misconduct or Executives willful or repeated failure or refusal to substantially perform assigned duties;
(iv) any act of fraud, embezzlement, material misappropriation or dishonesty committed by Executive against the Company or its affiliates; or
(v) any acts, omissions or statements by Executive which the Company reasonably determines to be materially detrimental or damaging to the reputation, operations, prospects or business relations of the Company or its affiliates;
provided, however, that prior to the determination that Cause under clauses (i), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this Section 1(b) has occurred, the Company shall (A) provide to Executive in writing, in reasonable detail, the reasons for the determination that such Cause exists, (B) afford Executive a reasonable opportunity to remedy any such breach, (C) provide Executive an opportunity to be heard prior to the final decision to terminate Executives employment hereunder for such Cause and (D) make any decision that such Cause exists in good faith.
The foregoing definition shall not in any way preclude or restrict the right of the Company or any successor or affiliate thereof to discharge or dismiss Executive for any other acts or omissions, but such other acts or omissions shall not be deemed, for purposes of this Agreement, to constitute grounds for termination for Cause.
(c) Change in Control shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in the Zeno Pharma, LLC 2017 Profits Interest Plan.
(d) Code means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time, and the Treasury Regulations and other interpretive guidance issued thereunder.
(e) Good Reason means the occurrence of any of the following events or conditions without Executives written consent:
(i) a change in Executives position or responsibilities that represents a substantial reduction in her position or responsibilities as in effect immediately prior thereto; the assignment to Executive of any duties or responsibilities that are materially inconsistent with such position or responsibilities; or any removal of Executive from or failure to reappoint or reelect Executive to any of such positions, except in connection with the termination of Executives services for Cause, as a result of her Permanent Disability or death, or by Executive other than for Good Reason; provided, however, that neither a change in Executives reporting relationship as a result of a Change in Control nor the fact that Executives reporting relationship is altered following a Change in Control because the Company or its successor is a wholly-owned subsidiary of another entity following such Change in Control shall alone constitute Good Reason;
(ii) a material reduction in Executives annual base salary;
(iii) the Company requiring Executive (without Executives consent) to be based at any place outside a ten (10)-mile radius of her then-current place of employment with the Company prior to any such relocation, except for reasonably required travel on the Companys business; or
(iv) any material breach by the Company or any affiliate of its obligations to Executive under any applicable employment or services agreement between Executive and the Company or such affiliate.
Executive must provide written notice to the Company of the occurrence of any of the foregoing events or conditions without Executives written consent within sixty (60) days of the occurrence of such event. The Company or any successor or affiliate shall have a period of thirty (30) days to cure such event or condition after receipt of written notice of such event from Executive. Executives Separation from Service by reason of resignation from employment with the Company for Good Reason must occurs within thirty (30) days following the expiration of the foregoing thirty (30) day cure period.
(f) Involuntary Termination means (i) Executives Separation from Service by reason of Executives discharge by the Company other than for Cause, or (ii) Executives Separation from Service by reason of Executives resignation of employment with the Company for Good Reason. Executives Separation from Service by reason of Executives death or discharge by the Company following Executives Permanent Disability shall not constitute an Involuntary Termination.
(g) Executives Permanent Disability shall be deemed to have occurred if Executive shall become physically or mentally incapacitated or disabled or otherwise unable fully to discharge her duties hereunder for a period of ninety (90) consecutive calendar days or for one hundred twenty (120) calendar days in any one hundred eighty (180) calendar-day period. The existence of Executives Permanent Disability shall be determined by the Company on the advice of a physician chosen by the Company and the Company reserves the right to have Executive examined by a physician chosen by the Company at the Companys expense.
(h) Separation from Service, with respect to Executive, means Executives separation from service, as defined in Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-1(h).
2. Services to Be Rendered.
(a) Duties and Responsibilities. Executive shall serve as Chief Financial Officer of the Company. In the performance of such duties, Executive shall report directly to, and shall be subject to the direction of, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company (the CEO) and to such limits upon Executives authority as the CEO may from time to time impose. In the event of the CEOs unavailability or incapacity, Executive shall report directly to the Board. Executive hereby consents to serve as an officer and/or director of the Company, Parent or any subsidiary or affiliate thereof without any additional salary or compensation, if so requested by the Board or the CEO. Executive shall be employed by the Company on a full time basis. Executives primary place of work shall be the Companys offices in New York, New York. Executive will also be expected to travel to the Companys locations as needed in connection with her duties. Executive shall be subject to and comply with the policies and procedures generally applicable to senior executives of the Company to the extent the same are not inconsistent with any term of this Agreement.
(b) Exclusive Services. Executive shall at all times faithfully, industriously and to the best of her ability, experience and talent perform all of the duties that may be assigned to Executive hereunder and shall devote substantially all of her productive time and efforts to the performance of such duties. Subject to the terms of the Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement referred to in Section 5(b), this shall not preclude Executive from (i) serving on industry, trade, civic, or charitable boards or committees; or (ii) managing personal, family and other investments; provided that such activities do not interfere with her duties to the Company, as determined in good faith by the CEO or the Board.
3. Compensation and Benefits. The Company shall pay or provide, as the case may be, to Executive the compensation and other benefits and rights set forth in this Section 3.
(a) Base Salary. The Company shall pay to Executive a base salary of $390,000 per year, payable in accordance with the Companys usual pay practices (and in any event no less frequently than monthly). Executives base salary shall be subject to review annually by and at the sole discretion of the Board or its designee.
(b) Annual Bonus. Executive shall participate in any annual bonus plan that the Board or its designee may approve for the senior executives of the Company. In addition to Executives base salary, Executive may be eligible to earn, for each fiscal year of the Company ending during the term of Executives employment with the Company, an annual cash performance bonus under the Companys bonus plan, as approved from time to time by the Board. Executives target bonus under any such annual bonus plan shall be forty percent (40%) of Executives base salary actually paid for the year to which such annual bonus relates (the Target Bonus). Executives actual annual bonus will be determined on the basis of Executives and/or the Companys or its affiliates attainment of financial or other performance criteria established by the Board or its designee in accordance with the terms and conditions of such bonus plan. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, Executive must be employed by the Company on the date of payment of such annual bonus in order to be eligible to receive such annual bonus. Executive hereby acknowledges and agrees that nothing contained herein confers upon Executive any right to an annual bonus in any year, and that whether the Company pays Executive an annual bonus and the amount of any such annual bonus will be determined by the Company in its sole discretion. Executives bonus for 2019 shall be pro-rated to reflect the portion of the year that Executive is employed by the Company
(c) Benefits. Executive shall be entitled to participate in benefits under the Companys benefit plans and arrangements, including, without limitation, any employee benefit plan or arrangement made available in the future by the Company to its senior executives, subject to and on a basis consistent with the terms, conditions and overall administration of such plans and arrangements. The Company shall have the right to amend or delete any such benefit plan or arrangement made available by the Company to its senior executives and not otherwise specifically provided for herein.
(d) Expenses. The Company shall reimburse Executive for reasonable out-of-pocket business expenses incurred in connection with the performance of her duties hereunder, subject to such policies as the Company may from time to time establish, and Executive furnishing the Company with evidence in the form of receipts satisfactory to the Company substantiating the claimed expenditures.
(e) Paid Time Off. Executive shall be entitled to such periods of paid time off (PTO) each year as provided from time to time under the Companys PTO policy and as otherwise provided for senior executive officers; provided, however, that Executive shall be entitled to a minimum of twenty (20) days of PTO per year.
(f) Profits Interest Award. Subject to the approval of the board of directors of Parent, Executive will be granted 200,000 Class B common units of Parent (the Class B Units), which number represents approximately one percent (1%) of the fully-diluted units of Parent as of the date of grant (after giving effect to Parents contemplated preferred stock financing). The Class B Units will be granted pursuant to Parents 2017 Profits Interest Plan (the Plan). The Class B
Units will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan and Executives profits interest award agreement. The Class B Units will vest over a four (4)-year vesting schedule, with 25% of the Class B Units vesting on the first anniversary of the Effective Date and the remaining Class B Units vested in equal monthly installments over the three (3) years thereafter. In the event of Executives termination by the Company other than for Cause (as defined in the Plan) (and other than as a result of Executives death or disability) following a Change in Control, all of the Class B Units will vest on an accelerated basis on the date of termination as provided in Executives profits interest award agreement.
(g) Equity and Other Benefit Plans. Executive shall be entitled to participate in any equity or other employee benefit plan that is generally available to senior executive officers of the Company. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, Executives participation in and benefits under any such plan shall be on the terms and subject to the conditions specified in the governing document of the particular plan.
4. Severance. Executive shall be entitled to receive benefits upon a Separation from Service only as set forth in this Section 4:
(a) At-Will Employment; Termination. The Company and Executive acknowledge that Executives employment is and shall continue to be at-will, as defined under applicable law, and that Executives employment with the Company may be terminated by either party at any time for any or no reason, with or without notice. If Executives employment terminates for any reason, Executive shall not be entitled to any payments, benefits, damages, awards or compensation other than as provided in this Agreement. Executives employment under this Agreement shall be terminated immediately on the death of Executive.
(b) Severance Upon Involuntary Termination. Subject to Sections 4(d) and 9(o) and Executives continued compliance with Section 5, if Executives employment is Involuntarily Terminated, Executive shall be entitled to receive, in lieu of any severance benefits to which Executive may otherwise be entitled under any severance plan or program of the Company, the benefits provided below:
(i) the Company shall pay to Executive her fully earned but unpaid base salary, when due, through the date of Executives Involuntary Termination at the rate then in effect, accrued and unused PTO, plus all other benefits, if any, under any Company group retirement plan, nonqualified deferred compensation plan, equity award plan or agreement, health benefits plan or other Company group benefit plan to which Executive may be entitled pursuant to the terms of such plans or agreements at the time of Executives Involuntary Termination (the Accrued Obligations); and
(ii) Executive shall be entitled to receive severance pay in an amount equal to (A) Executives monthly base salary as in effect immediately prior to the date of Executives Involuntary Termination, multiplied by (B) nine (9), which amount shall be payable in a lump sum sixty (60) days following Executives Involuntary Termination; and
(iii) for the period beginning on the date of Executives Involuntary Termination and ending on the date which is nine (9) full months following the date of Executives
Involuntary Termination (or, if earlier, (A) the date on which the applicable continuation period under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, as amended (COBRA) expires or (B) the date Executive becomes eligible to receive the equivalent or increased healthcare coverage by means of subsequent employment or self-employment) (such period, the COBRA Coverage Period), if Executive and/or her eligible dependents who were covered under the Companys health insurance plans as of the date of Executives Involuntary Termination elect to have COBRA coverage and are eligible for such coverage, the Company shall pay for or reimburse Executive on a monthly basis for an amount equal to (1) the monthly premium Executive and/or her covered dependents, as applicable, are required to pay for continuation coverage pursuant to COBRA for Executive and/or her eligible dependents, as applicable, who were covered under the Companys health plans as of the date of Executives Involuntary Termination (calculated by reference to the premium as of the date of Executives Involuntary Termination) less (2) the amount Executive would have had to pay to receive group health coverage for Executive and/or her covered dependents, as applicable, based on the cost sharing levels in effect on the date of Executives Involuntary Termination. If any of the Companys health benefits are self-funded as of the date of Executives Involuntary Termination, or if the Company cannot provide the foregoing benefits in a manner that is exempt from Section 409A (as defined below) or that is otherwise compliant with applicable law (including, without limitation, Section 2716 of the Public Health Service Act), instead of providing the payments or reimbursements as set forth above, the Company shall instead pay to Executive the foregoing monthly amount as a taxable monthly payment for the COBRA Coverage Period (or any remaining portion thereof). Executive shall be solely responsible for all matters relating to continuation of coverage pursuant to COBRA, including, without limitation, the election of such coverage and the timely payment of premiums. Executive shall notify the Company immediately if Executive becomes eligible to receive the equivalent or increased healthcare coverage by means of subsequent employment or self-employment.
(c) Termination for Cause, Voluntary Resignation Without Good Reason, Death or Termination for Permanent Disability. In the event of Executives termination of employment as a result of Executives discharge by the Company for Cause, Executives resignation without Good Reason, Executives death or Executives termination of employment following Executives Permanent Disability, the Company shall not have any other or further obligations to Executive under this Agreement (including any financial obligations) except that Executive shall be entitled to receive the Accrued Obligations. The foregoing shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any and all other rights and remedies which may be available to the Company under the circumstances, whether at law or in equity.
(d) Release. As a condition to Executives receipt of any post-termination benefits pursuant to Section 4(b) above, Executive (or, in the event of Executives incapacity as a result of her Permanent Disability, Executives legal representative) shall execute and not revoke a general release of all claims in favor of the Company and its affiliates (the Release) in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A. In the event the Release does not become effective within the fifty-five (55) day period following the date of Executives Involuntary Termination, Executive shall not be entitled to the aforesaid payments and benefits.
(e) Exclusive Remedy. Except as otherwise expressly required by law (e.g., COBRA) or as specifically provided herein, all of Executives rights to salary, severance, benefits, bonuses and other amounts hereunder (if any) accruing after the termination of Executives
employment shall cease upon such termination. In the event of Executives termination of employment with the Company, Executives sole remedy shall be to receive the payments and benefits described in this Section 4. In addition, Executive acknowledges and agrees that she is not entitled to any reimbursement by the Company for any taxes payable by Executive as a result of the payments and benefits received by Executive pursuant to this Section 4, including, without limitation, any excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code. Any payments made to Executive under this Section 4 shall be inclusive of any amounts or benefits to which Executive may be entitled pursuant to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2101 et seq., and the Department of Labor regulations thereunder, or any similar state statute.
(f) No Mitigation. Except as otherwise provided in Section 4(b)(iii) above, Executive shall not be required to mitigate the amount of any payment provided for in this Section 4 by seeking other employment or otherwise, nor shall the amount of any payment or benefit provided for in this Section 4 be reduced by any compensation earned by Executive as the result of employment by another employer or self-employment or by retirement benefits; provided, however, that loans, advances or other amounts owed by Executive to the Company may be offset by the Company against amounts payable to Executive under this Section 4.
(g) Return of the Companys Property. In the event of Executives termination of employment for any reason, the Company shall have the right, at its option, to require Executive to vacate her offices prior to or on the effective date of separation and to cease all activities on the Companys behalf. Upon Executives termination of employment in any manner, as a condition to Executives receipt of any severance benefits described in this Agreement, Executive shall immediately surrender to the Company all lists, books and records of, or in connection with, the Companys business, and all other property belonging to the Company, it being distinctly understood that all such lists, books and records, and other documents, are the property of the Company. Executive shall deliver to the Company a signed statement certifying compliance with this Section 4(g) prior to the receipt of any severance benefits described in this Agreement.
5. Certain Covenants.
(a) Noncompetition. Except as may otherwise be approved by the Board, during the term of Executives employment, Executive shall not have any ownership interest (of record or beneficial) in, or have any interest as an employee, salesman, consultant, officer or director in, or otherwise aid or assist in any manner, any firm, corporation, partnership, proprietorship or other business that engages in any county, city or part thereof in the United States and/or any foreign country in a business which competes directly or indirectly (as determined by the Board) with the Companys business in such county, city or part thereof, so long as the Company, or any successor in interest of the Company to the business and goodwill of the Company, remains engaged in such business in such county, city or part thereof or continues to solicit customers or potential customers therein; provided, however, that Executive may own, directly or indirectly, solely as an investment, securities of any entity which are traded on any national securities exchange if Executive (i) is not a controlling person of, or a member of a group which controls, such entity; or (ii) does not, directly or indirectly, own one percent (1%) or more of any class of securities of any such entity.
(b) Confidential Information. Executive and the Company have entered into the Companys standard proprietary information and inventions assignment agreement (the Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement). Executive agrees to perform each and every obligation of Executive therein contained.
(c) Solicitation of Employees. During the term of Executives employment or service and for one (1) year thereafter (the Restricted Period), Executive will not, either directly or through others, solicit or attempt to solicit any employee, independent contractor or consultant of the Company or its affiliates to terminate her relationship with the Company or its affiliates in order to become an employee, consultant or independent contractor to or for any other person or entity, or otherwise encourage or solicit any employee of the Company or its affiliates to leave the Company or such affiliates for any reason or to devote less than all of any such employees efforts to the affairs of the Company; provided that the foregoing shall not affect any responsibility Executive may have as an employee of the Company with respect to the bona fide hiring and firing of Company personnel.
(d) Solicitation of Consultants. Executive shall not during the term of Executives employment or service and for the Restricted Period, directly or indirectly, hire, solicit or encourage to cease work with the Company or any of its affiliates any consultant then under contract with the Company or any of its affiliates.
(e) Nondisparagement. Executive agrees that neither she nor anyone acting by, through, under or in concert with her shall disparage or otherwise communicate negative statements or opinions about the Company, Parent, or their respective board members, officers, employees or businesses. The Company agrees that neither its Board members nor officers, nor the board members or officers of Parent, shall disparage or otherwise communicate negative statements or opinions about Executive. Except as may be required by law, neither Executive, nor any member of Executives family, nor anyone else acting by, through, under or in concert with Executive will disclose to any individual or entity (other than Executives legal or tax advisors) the terms of this Agreement.
(f) Rights and Remedies Upon Breach. If Executive breaches or threatens to commit a breach of any of the provisions of this Section 5 (the Restrictive Covenants), the Company shall have the following rights and remedies, each of which rights and remedies shall be independent of the other and severally enforceable, and all of which rights and remedies shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other rights and remedies available to the Company under law or in equity:
(i) Specific Performance. The right and remedy to have the Restrictive Covenants specifically enforced by any court having equity jurisdiction, all without the need to post a bond or any other security or to prove any amount of actual damage or that money damages would not provide an adequate remedy, it being acknowledged and agreed that any such breach or threatened breach will cause irreparable injury to the Company and that money damages will not provide adequate remedy to the Company; and
(ii) Accounting and Indemnification. The right and remedy to require Executive (A) to account for and pay over to the Company all compensation, profits, monies,
accruals, increments or other benefits derived or received by Executive or any associated party deriving such benefits as a result of any such breach of the Restrictive Covenants; and (B) to indemnify the Company against any other losses, damages (including special and consequential damages), costs and expenses, including actual attorneys fees and court costs, which may be incurred by them and which result from or arise out of any such breach or threatened breach of the Restrictive Covenants.
(g) Severability of Covenants/Blue Pencilling. If any court determines that any of the Restrictive Covenants, or any part thereof, is invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of the Restrictive Covenants shall not thereby be affected and shall be given full effect, without regard to the invalid portions. If any court determines that any of the Restrictive Covenants, or any part thereof, are unenforceable because of the duration of such provision or the area covered thereby, such court shall have the power to reduce the duration or area of such provision and, in its reduced form, such provision shall then be enforceable and shall be enforced. Executive hereby waives any and all right to attack the validity of the Restrictive Covenants on the grounds of the breadth of their geographic scope or the length of their term.
(h) Enforceability in Jurisdictions. The Company and Executive intend to and do hereby confer jurisdiction to enforce the Restrictive Covenants upon the courts of any jurisdiction within the geographical scope of such covenants. If the courts of any one or more of such jurisdictions hold the Restrictive Covenants wholly unenforceable by reason of the breadth of such scope or otherwise, it is the intention of the Company and Executive that such determination not bar or in any way affect the right of the Company to the relief provided above in the courts of any other jurisdiction within the geographical scope of such covenants, as to breaches of such covenants in such other respective jurisdictions, such covenants as they relate to each jurisdiction being, for this purpose, severable into diverse and independent covenants.
(i) Whistleblower Provision. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit Executive from communicating directly with, cooperating with, or providing information to, any government regulator, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or the U.S. Department of Justice. Executive acknowledges that the Company has provided Executive with the following notice of immunity rights in compliance with the requirements of the Defend Trade Secrets Act: (i) Executive shall not be held criminally or civilly liable under any Federal or State trade secret law for the disclosure of proprietary information that is made in confidence to a Federal, State, or local government official or to an attorney solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law, (ii) Executive shall not be held criminally or civilly liable under any Federal or State trade secret law for the disclosure of proprietary information that is made in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such filing is made under seal and (iii) if Executive files a lawsuit for retaliation by the Company for reporting a suspected violation of law, Executive may disclose the proprietary information to Executives attorney and use the proprietary information in the court proceeding, if Executive files any document containing the proprietary information under seal, and does not disclose the proprietary information, except pursuant to court order.
(j) Definitions. For purposes of this Section 5, the term Company means not only Zeno Management, Inc., but also Parent as well as any company, partnership or entity which, directly or indirectly, controls, is controlled by or is under common control with Zeno Management, Inc.
6. Insurance; Indemnification.
(a) Insurance. The Company shall have the right to take out life, health, accident, key-man or other insurance covering Executive, in the name of the Company and at the Companys expense in any amount deemed appropriate by the Company. Executive shall assist the Company in obtaining such insurance, including, without limitation, submitting to any required examinations and providing information and data required by insurance companies.
(b) Indemnification. Executive will be provided with indemnification against third party claims related to her work for the Company to the extent permitted by Delaware law. The Company shall provide Executive with directors and officers liability insurance coverage at least as favorable as that which the Company may maintain from time to time for other executive officers.
7. Arbitration. Any dispute, claim or controversy based on, arising out of or relating to Executives employment or this Agreement shall be settled by final and binding arbitration in New York, New York, before a single neutral arbitrator in accordance with the JAMS Employment Arbitration Rules and Procedures (the Rules), and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. The Rules may be found online at www.jamsadr.com. If the parties are unable to agree upon an arbitrator, one shall be appointed by JAMS in accordance with its Rules. Each party shall pay the fees of its own attorneys, the expenses of its witnesses and all other expenses connected with presenting its case; provided, however, Executive and the Company agree that, to the extent permitted by law, the arbitrator may, in his or her discretion, award reasonable attorneys fees to the prevailing party; provided, further, that the prevailing party shall be reimbursed for such fees, costs and expenses within forty-five (45) days following any such award, but in no event later than the last day of Executives taxable year following the taxable year in which the fees, costs and expenses were incurred; provided, further, that the parties obligations pursuant to this sentence shall terminate on the tenth (10th) anniversary of the date of Executives termination of employment. Other costs of the arbitration, including the cost of any record or transcripts of the arbitration, JAMS administrative fees, the fee of the arbitrator, and all other fees and costs, shall be borne by the Company. This Section 7 is intended to be the exclusive method for resolving any and all claims by the parties against each other for payment of damages under this Agreement or relating to Executives employment; provided, however, that Executive shall retain the right to file administrative charges with or seek relief through any government agency of competent jurisdiction, and to participate in any government investigation, including but not limited to (a) claims for workers compensation, state disability insurance or unemployment insurance; (b) administrative claims brought before any state or federal governmental authority; provided, however, that any appeal from an award or from denial of an award of wages and/or waiting time penalties shall be arbitrated pursuant to the terms of this Agreement; and (c) claims for administrative relief from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or any similar state agency in any applicable jurisdiction); provided, further, that Executive shall not be entitled to obtain any monetary relief through such agencies other than workers compensation benefits or unemployment insurance benefits. This Agreement shall not limit either partys right to obtain any provisional remedy, including, without limitation,
injunctive or similar relief, from any court of competent jurisdiction as may be necessary to protect their rights and interests pending the outcome of arbitration, including without limitation injunctive relief, in any court of competent jurisdiction. Seeking any such relief shall not be deemed to be a waiver of such partys right to compel arbitration. Both Executive and the Company expressly waive their right to a jury trial.
8. General Relationship. Executive shall be considered an employee of the Company within the meaning of all federal, state and local laws and regulations including, but not limited to, laws and regulations governing unemployment insurance, workers compensation, industrial accident, labor and taxes.
(a) Modification; Prior Claims. This Agreement and the Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement (and the other documents referenced therein) set forth the entire understanding of the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof, and supersede all existing agreements between them concerning such subject matter, including any offer letter between the Company and Executive. This Agreement may be amended or modified only with the written consent of Executive and an authorized representative of the Company. No oral waiver, amendment or modification will be effective under any circumstances whatsoever.
(b) Assignment; Assumption by Successor. The rights of the Company under this Agreement may, without the consent of Executive, be assigned by the Company, in its sole and unfettered discretion, to any person, firm, corporation or other business entity which at any time, whether by purchase, merger or otherwise, directly or indirectly, acquires all or substantially all of the assets or business of the Company. The Company will require any successor (whether direct or indirect, by purchase, merger or otherwise) to all or substantially all of the business or assets of the Company expressly to assume and to agree to perform this Agreement in the same manner and to the same extent that the Company would be required to perform it if no such succession had taken place; provided, however, that no such assumption shall relieve the Company of its obligations hereunder. As used in this Agreement, the Company shall mean the Company as hereinbefore defined and any successor to its business and/or assets as aforesaid which assumes and agrees to perform this Agreement by operation of law or otherwise.
(c) Survival. The covenants, agreements, representations and warranties contained in or made in Sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of this Agreement shall survive Executives termination of employment.
(d) Third-Party Beneficiaries. Except as expressly set forth herein, this Agreement does not create, and shall not be construed as creating, any rights enforceable by any person not a party to this Agreement.
(e) Waiver. The failure of either party hereto at any time to enforce performance by the other party of any provision of this Agreement shall in no way affect such partys rights thereafter to enforce the same, nor shall the waiver by either party of any breach of any provision hereof be deemed to be a waiver by such party of any other breach of the same or any other provision hereof.
(f) Section Headings. The headings of the several sections in this Agreement are inserted solely for the convenience of the parties and are not a part of and are not intended to govern, limit or aid in the construction of any term or provision hereof.
(g) Notices. Any notice required or permitted by this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be delivered as follows with notice deemed given as indicated: (i) by personal delivery when delivered personally; (ii) by overnight courier upon written verification of receipt; (iii) by email, telecopy or facsimile transmission upon acknowledgment of receipt of electronic transmission; or (iv) by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, upon verification of receipt. Notice shall be sent to Executive at the address listed on the Companys personnel records and to the Company at its principal place of business, or such other address as either party may specify in writing.
(h) Severability. All Sections, clauses and covenants contained in this Agreement are severable, and in the event any of them shall be held to be invalid by any court, this Agreement shall be interpreted as if such invalid Sections, clauses or covenants were not contained herein.
(i) Governing Law and Venue. This Agreement is to be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York applicable to contracts made and to be performed wholly within such State, and without regard to the conflicts of laws principles thereof. Except as provided in Sections 5 and 7, any suit brought hereon shall be brought in the state or federal courts sitting in New York, New York, the parties hereto hereby waiving any claim or defense that such forum is not convenient or proper. Each party hereby agrees that any such court shall have in personam jurisdiction over it and consents to service of process in any manner authorized by New York law.
(j) Non-transferability of Interest. None of the rights of Executive to receive any form of compensation payable pursuant to this Agreement shall be assignable or transferable except through a testamentary disposition or by the laws of descent and distribution upon the death of Executive. Any attempted assignment, transfer, conveyance, or other disposition (other than as aforesaid) of any interest in the rights of Executive to receive any form of compensation to be made by the Company pursuant to this Agreement shall be void.
(k) Gender. Where the context so requires, the use of the masculine gender shall include the feminine and/or neuter genders and the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa, and the word person shall include any corporation, firm, partnership or other form of association.
(l) Counterparts; Facsimile or .pdf Signatures. This Agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which when so executed and delivered will be deemed an original, and all of which together shall constitute one and the same agreement. This Agreement may be executed and delivered by facsimile or by .pdf file and upon such delivery the facsimile or .pdf signature will be deemed to have the same effect as if the original signature had been delivered to the other party.
(m) Construction. The language in all parts of this Agreement shall in all cases be construed simply, according to its fair meaning, and not strictly for or against any of the parties hereto. Without limitation, there shall be no presumption against any party on the ground that such party was responsible for drafting this Agreement or any part thereof.
(n) Withholding and Other Deductions. All compensation payable to Executive hereunder shall be subject to such deductions as the Company is from time to time required to make pursuant to law, governmental regulation or order.
(o) Code Section 409A.
(i) This Agreement is not intended to provide for any deferral of compensation subject to Section 409A of the Code, and, accordingly, the severance payments payable under Section 4(b)(ii) shall be paid no later than the later of: (A) the fifteenth (15th) day of the third month following Executives first taxable year in which such amounts are no longer subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture, and (B) the fifteenth (15th) day of the third month following first taxable year of the Company in which such amounts are is no longer subject to substantial risk of forfeiture, as determined in accordance with Code Section 409A and any Treasury Regulations and other guidance issued thereunder. To the extent applicable, this Agreement shall be interpreted in accordance with Code Section 409A and Department of Treasury regulations and other interpretive guidance issued thereunder. Each series of installment payments made under this Agreement is hereby designated as a series of separate payments within the meaning of Section 409A of the Code. For purposes of this Agreement, all references to Executives termination of employment shall mean Executives Separation from Service.
(ii) If Executive is a specified employee (as defined in Section 409A of the Code), as determined by the Company in accordance with Section 409A of the Code, on the date of Executives Separation from Service, to the extent that the payments or benefits under this Agreement are subject to Section 409A of the Code and the delayed payment or distribution of all or any portion of such amounts to which Executive is entitled under this Agreement is required in order to avoid a prohibited distribution under Section 409A(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Code, then such portion deferred pursuant to this Section 9(o)(ii) shall be paid or distributed to Executive in a lump sum on the earlier of (A) the date that is six (6)-months following Executives Separation from Service, (B) the date of Executives death or (C) the earliest date as is permitted under Section 409A of the Code. Any remaining payments due under the Agreement shall be paid as otherwise provided herein.
(iii) To the extent applicable, this Agreement shall be interpreted in accordance with the applicable exemptions from Section 409A of the Code. If Executive and the Company determine that any payments or benefits payable under this Agreement intended to comply with Sections 409A(a)(2), (3) and (4) of the Code do not comply with Section 409A of the Code, Executive and the Company agree to amend this Agreement, or take such other actions as Executive and the Company deem reasonably necessary or appropriate, to comply with the requirements of Section 409A of the Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder (and any applicable transition relief) while preserving the economic agreement of the parties. To the extent that any provision in this Agreement is ambiguous as to its compliance with Section 409A of the Code, the provision shall be read in such a manner that no payments payable under this Agreement shall be subject to an additional tax as defined in Section 409A(a)(1)(B) of the Code.
(iv) Any reimbursement of expenses or in-kind benefits payable under this Agreement shall be made in accordance with Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-3(i)(1)(iv) and shall be paid on or before the last day of Executives taxable year following the taxable year in which Executive incurred the expenses. The amount of expenses reimbursed or in-kind benefits payable during any taxable year of Executives shall not affect the amount eligible for reimbursement or in-kind benefits payable in any other taxable year of Executives, and Executives right to reimbursement for such amounts shall not be subject to liquidation or exchange for any other benefit.
[SIGNATURE PAGE FOLLOWS]
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this Agreement as of the date first set forth above.
|ZENO MANAGEMENT, INC.|
|Name:||Anthony Y. Sun, M.D.|
|Title:||President and Chief Executive Officer|
SIGNATURE PAGE TO EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
GENERAL RELEASE OF CLAIMS
[The language in this Release may change based on legal developments and evolving best practices; this form is provided as an example of what will be included in the final Release document.]
This General Release of Claims (Release) is entered into as of this day of , , between Melissa Epperly (Executive), and Zeno Management, Inc. (the Company) (collectively referred to herein as the Parties).
WHEREAS, Executive and the Company are parties to that certain Employment Agreement dated as of September 5, 2019 (the Agreement);
WHEREAS, the Parties agree that Executive is entitled to certain severance benefits under the Agreement, subject to Executives execution of this Release; and
WHEREAS, the Company and Executive now wish to fully and finally to resolve all matters between them.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of, and subject to, the severance benefits payable to Executive pursuant to the Agreement, the adequacy of which is hereby acknowledged by Executive, and which Executive acknowledges that she would not otherwise be entitled to receive, Executive and the Company hereby agree as follows:
1. General Release of Claims by Executive.
(a) Executive, on behalf of herself and her executors, heirs, administrators, representatives and assigns, hereby agrees to release and forever discharge the Company and all predecessors, successors and their respective parent corporations, affiliates, related, and/or subsidiary entities, and all of their past and present investors, directors, shareholders, officers, general or limited partners, employees, attorneys, agents and representatives, and the employee benefit plans in which Executive is or has been a participant by virtue of her employment with or service to the Company (collectively, the Company Releasees), from any and all claims, debts, demands, accounts, judgments, rights, causes of action, equitable relief, damages, costs, charges, complaints, obligations, promises, agreements, controversies, suits, expenses, compensation, responsibility and liability of every kind and character whatsoever (including attorneys fees and costs), whether in law or equity, known or unknown, asserted or unasserted, suspected or unsuspected (collectively, Claims), which Executive has or may have had against such entities based on any events or circumstances arising or occurring on or prior to the date hereof or on or prior to the date hereof, arising directly or indirectly out of, relating to, or in any other way involving in any manner whatsoever Executives employment by or service to the Company or the termination thereof, including any and all claims arising under federal, state, or local laws relating to employment, including without limitation claims of wrongful discharge, breach of express or implied contract, fraud, misrepresentation, defamation, or liability in tort, and claims of any kind
that may be brought in any court or administrative agency including, without limitation, claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000, et seq.; the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.; the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991; 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, et seq.; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Section 621, et seq. (the ADEA); the Equal Pay Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Section 206(d); regulations of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, 41 C.F.R. Section 60, et seq.; the Family and Medical Leave Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.; the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
Notwithstanding the generality of the foregoing, Executive does not release the following claims:
(i) Claims for unemployment compensation or any state disability insurance benefits pursuant to the terms of applicable state law;
(ii) Claims for workers compensation insurance benefits under the terms of any workers compensation insurance policy or fund of the Company;
(iii) Claims pursuant to the terms and conditions of the federal law known as COBRA;
(iv) Claims for indemnity under the bylaws of the Company, as provided for by Delaware law or under any applicable insurance policy with respect to Executives liability as an employee, director or officer of the Company;
(v) Executives right to bring to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or any other federal, state or local government agency claims of discrimination, or from participating in an investigation or proceeding conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or any other federal, state or local government agency; provided, however, that Executive does release her right to secure any damages for alleged discriminatory treatment;
(vi) Claims based on any right Executive may have to enforce the Companys executory obligations under the Agreement;
(vii) Claims Executive may have to vested or earned compensation and benefits; and
(viii) Executives right to communicate or cooperate with any government agency.
(b) EXECUTIVE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT SHE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF AND IS FAMILIAR WITH THE PROVISIONS OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 1542, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:
A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS THAT THE CREDITOR OR RELEASING PARTY DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE AND THAT, IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER, WOULD HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR OR RELEASED PARTY.
BEING AWARE OF SAID CODE SECTION, EXECUTIVE HEREBY EXPRESSLY WAIVES ANY RIGHTS SHE MAY HAVE THEREUNDER, AS WELL AS UNDER ANY OTHER STATUTES OR COMMON LAW PRINCIPLES OF SIMILAR EFFECT.
[Note: Clauses (c), (d) and (e) apply only if Executive is age 40 or older at time of termination]
(c) Executive acknowledges that this Release was presented to her on the date indicated above and that Executive is entitled to have [twenty-one (21)][forty-five (45)] days time in which to consider it. Executive further acknowledges that the Company has advised her that she is waiving her rights under the ADEA, and that Executive should consult with an attorney of her choice before signing this Release, and Executive has had sufficient time to consider the terms of this Release. Executive represents and acknowledges that if Executive executes this Release before [twenty-one (21)][forty-five (45)] days have elapsed, Executive does so knowingly, voluntarily, and upon the advice and with the approval of Executives legal counsel (if any), and that Executive voluntarily waives any remaining consideration period.
(d) Executive understands that after executing this Release, Executive has the right to revoke it within seven (7) days after her execution of it. Executive understands that this Release will not become effective and enforceable unless the seven (7) day revocation period passes and Executive does not revoke the Release in writing. Executive understands that this Release may not be revoked after the seven (7) day revocation period has passed. Executive also understands that any revocation of this Release must be made in writing and delivered to the Company at its principal place of business within the seven (7) day period.
(e) Executive understands that this Release shall become effective, irrevocable, and binding upon Executive on the eighth (8th) day after her execution of it, so long as Executive has not revoked it within the time period and in the manner specified in clause (d) above.
(f) Executive further understands that Executive will not be given any severance benefits under the Agreement unless this Release is effective on or before the date that is fifty-five (55) days following the date of Executives termination of employment.
2. No Assignment. Executive represents and warrants to the Company Releasees that there has been no assignment or other transfer of any interest in any Claim that Executive may have against the Company Releasees. Executive agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Company Releasees from any liability, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses and attorneys fees incurred as a result of any such assignment or transfer from Executive.
3. Severability. In the event any provision of this Release is found to be unenforceable by an arbitrator or court of competent jurisdiction, such provision shall be deemed modified to the extent necessary to allow enforceability of the provision as so limited, it being intended that the
parties shall receive the benefit contemplated herein to the fullest extent permitted by law. If a deemed modification is not satisfactory in the judgment of such arbitrator or court, the unenforceable provision shall be deemed deleted, and the validity and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not be affected thereby.
4. Interpretation; Construction. The headings set forth in this Release are for convenience only and shall not be used in interpreting this Agreement. This Release has been drafted by legal counsel representing the Company, but Executive has participated in the negotiation of its terms. Furthermore, Executive acknowledges that Executive has had an opportunity to review and revise the Release and have it reviewed by legal counsel, if desired, and, therefore, the normal rule of construction to the effect that any ambiguities are to be resolved against the drafting party shall not be employed in the interpretation of this Release. Either partys failure to enforce any provision of this Release shall not in any way be construed as a waiver of any such provision, or prevent that party thereafter from enforcing each and every other provision of this Release.
5. Governing Law and Venue. This Release will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States of America and the State of New York applicable to contracts made and to be performed wholly within such State, and without regard to the conflicts of laws principles thereof. Any suit brought hereon shall be brought in the state or federal courts sitting in New York, New York, the Parties hereby waiving any claim or defense that such forum is not convenient or proper. Each party hereby agrees that any such court shall have in personam jurisdiction over it and consents to service of process in any manner authorized by New York law.
6. Entire Agreement. This Release and the Agreement constitute the entire agreement of the Parties in respect of the subject matter contained herein and therein and supersede all prior or simultaneous representations, discussions, negotiations and agreements, whether written or oral. This Release may be amended or modified only with the written consent of Executive and an authorized representative of the Company. No oral waiver, amendment or modification will be effective under any circumstances whatsoever.
7. Counterparts. This Release may be executed in multiple counterparts, each of which shall be deemed to be an original but all of which together shall constitute one and the same instrument.
(Signature Page Follows)
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, and intending to be legally bound, the Parties have executed the foregoing Release as of the date first written above.
|EXECUTIVE||ZENO MANAGEMENT, INC.|
|Print Name: Melissa Epperly|| |