Form of Employment Agreement
EX-10.11 16 nt10018776x4_ex10-11.htm EXHIBIT 10.11
This Employment Agreement (the “Agreement”), is made and entered into by and between Zymergen Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”) and [________________] (“Executive” and, together with the Company, the “Parties”). This Agreement will become effective as of immediately prior to the time the Company’s registration statement relating to the initial public offering of the Company’s common stock becomes effective (the “Effective Date”). This Agreement supersedes in its entirety that certain offer letter between Executive and the Company dated as of [________________] (“Offer Letter”).
WHEREAS, the Company desires to assure itself of the continued services of Executive by engaging Executive to perform services as an employee of the Company under the terms hereof;
WHEREAS, Executive desires to provide continued services to the Company on the terms herein provided; and
WHEREAS, the Parties desire to execute this Agreement to supersede the Offer Letter in its entirety and reflect certain changes to Executive’s employment with the Company effective as of the Effective Date.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing, and for other good and valuable consideration, including the respective covenants and agreements set forth below, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the Parties hereto agree as follows:
(a) General. The Company shall employ Executive upon the terms and conditions provided herein effective as of the Effective Date.
(b) Position and Duties. Effective as of the Effective Date, Executive: (i) shall continue to serve as the Company’s [________________]1,with such responsibilities, duties, and authority as Executive has as of the Effective Date or that are usual and customary for such position, subject to direction by the [Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”)] [Chief Executive Officer]; (ii) shall continue to report directly to [the Board] [Chief Executive Officer]; and (iii) agrees promptly and faithfully to comply with all present and future policies, requirements, rules and regulations, and reasonable directions and requests, of the Company in connection with the Company’s business. At the Company’s request, Executive shall serve the Company and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates in such other capacities in addition to the foregoing as the Company shall designate, provided that such additional capacities are consistent with Executive’s position as the Company’s [________________]. In the event that Executive serves in any one or more of such additional capacities, Executive’s compensation shall not automatically be increased on account of such additional service.
(c) Principal Office. Executive shall continue to perform services for the Company [at the Company’s offices located in Emeryville, California,] or, with the Company’s consent, at any other place in connection with the fulfillment of Executive’s role with the Company; provided, however, that the Company may from time to time require Executive to travel temporarily to other locations in connection with the Company’s business.
1 Josh Hoffman – Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer; Jed Dean – Co-Founder and VP, Operations and Engineering; Mina Kim – Chief Legal Officer; Aaron Kimball – Chief Technology Officer; Zachariah Serber – Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer; Enakshi Singh - Chief Financial Officer.
(d) Exclusivity. Except with the prior written approval of the [Board] [Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”)] (which the Board may grant or withhold in its sole and absolute discretion), Executive shall devote Executive’s best efforts and full working time, attention, and energies to the business of the Company, except during any paid vacation or other excused absence periods. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Executive may, without violating this Section 1(d), (i) as a passive investment, own publicly traded securities in such form or manner as will not require any services by Executive in the operation of the entities in which such securities are owned; (ii) engage in charitable and civic activities; or (iii) engage in other personal passive investment activities, in each case, so long as such interests or activities do not materially interfere to the extent such activities do not, individually or in the aggregate, interfere with or otherwise prevent the performance of Executive’s duties and responsibilities hereunder. Executive may also serve as a member of the board of directors or board of advisors of another organization provided (i) such organization is not a competitor of the Company; (ii) Executive receives prior written approval from the [Board] [Chief Executive Officer]; and (iii) such activities do not individually or in the aggregate interfere with the performance of Executive’s duties under this Agreement, violate the Company’s standards of conduct then in effect, or raise a conflict under the Company’s conflict of interest policies. For the avoidance of doubt, the [Board] [Chief Executive Officer] has approved Executive’s continued service with those organizations set forth on Exhibit A, such approval to continue until the earlier to occur of (a) the [Board’s] [Chief Executive Officer’s] revocation of such approval in [its] [his or her] sole and absolute discretion upon reasonable notice to Executive, or (b) such time as such service interferes with the performance of Executive’s duties under this Agreement, violates the Company’s standards of conflict or raises a conflict under the Company’s conflict of interest policies.
2. Term. The period of Executive’s employment under this Agreement shall commence on the Effective Date and shall continue until Executive’s employment with the Company is terminated pursuant to Section 5. The phrase “Term” as used in this Agreement shall refer to the entire period of employment of Executive by the Company.
3. Compensation and Related Matters.
(a) Annual Base Salary. During the Term, Executive shall receive a base salary at the rate of $[________]2 per year (as may be increased from time to time, the “Annual Base Salary”), subject to withholdings and deductions, which shall be paid to Executive in accordance with the customary payroll practices and procedures of the Company. Such Annual Base Salary shall be reviewed by the Board, not less than annually.
(b) Annual Bonus. Executive shall be eligible to receive a discretionary annual bonus based on Executive’s achievement of performance objectives established by the Board, such bonus to be targeted at [__]%3 of Executive’s Annual Base Salary (the “Annual Bonus”). Any Annual Bonus approved by the Board shall be paid at the same time annual bonuses are paid to other executives of the Company generally, subject to Executive’s continuous employment through the date of approval.
(c) Benefits. Executive shall be entitled to participate in such employee and executive benefit plans and programs as the Company may from time to time offer to provide to its executives, subject to the terms and conditions of such plans. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing herein is intended, or shall be construed, to require the Company to institute or continue any particular plan or benefit.
(d) Business Expenses. The Company shall reimburse Executive for all reasonable, documented, out-of-pocket travel and other business expenses incurred by Executive in the performance of Executive’s duties to the Company in accordance with the Company’s applicable expense reimbursement policies and procedures as are in effect from time to time.
(e) Vacation. Executive will be entitled to paid vacation in accordance with the Company’s vacation policy, as in effect from time to time.
2 $500,000 for Josh Hoffman; $400,000 for Mina Kim and Enakshi Singh; $360,000 for Aaron Kimball; $350,000 for Zachariah Serber and Jed Dean.
3 60% for Josh Hoffman; 50% for other executive officers.
4. Equity Awards. Executive shall be eligible for the grant of stock options and other equity awards as may be determined by the Board or its Compensation Committee.
(a) At-Will Employment. The Company and Executive acknowledge that Executive’s employment is and shall continue to be at-will, as defined under applicable law. This means that it is not for any specified period of time and, subject to any ramifications under Section 6 of this Agreement, can be terminated by Executive or by the Company at any time, with or without advance notice, and for any or no particular reason or cause. It also means that Executive’s job duties, title, and responsibility and reporting level, work schedule, compensation, and benefits, as well as the Company’s personnel policies and procedures, may be changed with prospective effect, with or without notice, at any time in the sole discretion of the Company (subject to any ramification such changes may have under Section 6 of this Agreement). This “at-will” nature of Executive’s employment shall remain unchanged during Executive’s tenure as an employee and may not be changed, except in an express writing signed by Executive and a duly-authorized officer of the Company. If Executive’s employment terminates for any lawful reason, Executive shall not be entitled to any payments, benefits, damages, award, or compensation other than as provided in this Agreement.
(b) Notice of Termination. During the Term, any termination of Executive’s employment by the Company or by Executive (other than by reason of death) shall be communicated by written notice (a “Notice of Termination”) from one Party hereto to the other Party hereto (i) indicating the specific termination provision in this Agreement relied upon, if any, (ii) setting forth in reasonable detail the facts and circumstances claimed to provide a basis for termination of Executive’s employment under the provision so indicated, and (iii) specifying the Date of Termination (as defined below). The failure by the Company to set forth in the Notice of Termination all of the facts and circumstances which contribute to a showing of Cause (as defined below) shall not waive any right of the Company hereunder or preclude the Company from asserting such fact or circumstance in enforcing its rights hereunder.
(c) Date of Termination. For purposes of this Agreement, “Date of Termination” shall mean the date of the termination of Executive’s employment with the Company specified in a Notice of Termination.
(d) Deemed Resignation. Upon termination of Executive’s employment for any reason, Executive shall be deemed to have resigned from all offices and board memberships, if any, then held with the Company or any of its affiliates, and, at the Company’s request, Executive shall execute such documents as are necessary or desirable to effectuate such resignations.
6. Consequences of Termination.
(a) Payments of Accrued Obligations upon all Terminations of Employment. Upon a termination of Executive’s employment for any reason, Executive (or Executive’s estate or legal representative, as applicable) shall be entitled to receive, within 30 days after Executive’s Date of Termination (or such earlier date as may be required by applicable law): (i) any portion of Executive’s Annual Base Salary earned through Executive’s Date of Termination not theretofore paid, (ii) any expenses owed to Executive under Section 3, (iii) any accrued but unused paid time off owed to Executive, solely to the extent applicable under the Company’s paid time off policies; (iv) any Annual Bonus earned but unpaid as of the Date of Termination, and (v) any amount arising from Executive’s participation in, or benefits under, any employee benefit plans, programs, or arrangements under Section 3, which amounts shall be payable in accordance with the terms and conditions of such employee benefit plans, programs, or arrangements. Except as otherwise set forth in Sections 6(b) and (c), the payments and benefits described in this Section 6(a) shall be the only payments and benefits payable in the event of Executive’s termination of employment for any reason.
(b) Severance Payments upon Covered Termination Outside a Change in Control Period. If, during the Term, Executive experiences a Covered Termination outside of a Change in Control Period (each as defined below), then in addition to the payments and benefits described in Section 6(a), the Company shall, subject to Executive’s delivery to the Company of a waiver and release of claims agreement in a form acceptable to the Company (the “Release”) that becomes effective and irrevocable in accordance with Section 10(d) and Executive’s continued compliance with the Confidentiality Agreement, provide Executive with the following:
(i) Executive shall be entitled to receive an amount equal to [________ (__)]4 months of Executive’s annual base salary at the rate in effect immediately prior to the Date of Termination, payable in a cash lump sum, less applicable withholdings, on the first payroll date following the date the Release becomes effective and irrevocable in accordance with Section 10(d).
(ii) If Executive timely elects to receive continued healthcare coverage pursuant to the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, as amended (“COBRA”), the Company shall directly pay, or reimburse Executive for, the Company’s portion of the premium (at the same rates in effect on the Date of Termination) for Executive and Executive’s covered dependents through the earlier of (A) the [________ (__)]5 -month anniversary of the Date of Termination and (B) the date Executive and Executive’s covered dependents, if any, become eligible for healthcare coverage under another employer’s plan(s). Notwithstanding the foregoing, (x) if any plan pursuant to which such benefits are provided is not, or ceases prior to the expiration of the period of continuation coverage to be, exempt from the application of Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the “Code”) under Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-1(a)(5), or (y) the Company is otherwise unable to continue to cover Executive under its group health plans without penalty under applicable law (including without limitation, Section 2716 of the Public Health Service Act), then, in either case, an amount equal to each remaining Company subsidy shall thereafter be paid to Executive in substantially equal monthly installments. After the Company ceases to pay premiums pursuant to this Section 6(b)(ii), Executive may, if eligible, elect to continue healthcare coverage at Executive’s expense in accordance with the provisions of COBRA. Executive shall notify the Company immediately if Executive becomes covered by a group health plan of a subsequent employer.
(c) Severance Payments upon Covered Termination During a Change in Control Period. If, during the Term, Executive experiences a Covered Termination during a Change in Control Period, then, in addition to the payments and benefits described in Section 6(a), the Company shall, subject to Executive’s delivery to the Company of the Release that becomes effective and irrevocable in accordance with Section 10(d) and Executive’s continued compliance with the Confidentiality Agreement, provide Executive with the following:
(i) Executive shall be entitled to receive an amount equal to the sum of (i) [________ (__)]6 months of Executive’s annual base salary at the rate in effect immediately prior to the Date of Termination and (ii) [________]7 times Executive’s target annual bonus assuming achievement of performance goals at one hundred percent (100%) of target, payable in a cash lump sum, less applicable withholdings, on the first payroll date following the date the Release becomes effective and irrevocable in accordance with Section 10(d).
(ii) If Executive timely elects to receive continued healthcare coverage pursuant to the provisions of COBRA, the Company shall directly pay, or reimburse Executive for, the Company’s portion of the premium (at the same rates in effect on the Date of Termination) for Executive and Executive’s covered dependents through the earlier of (i) the [________ (__)]8-month anniversary of the Date of Termination and (ii) the date Executive and Executive’s covered dependents, if any, become eligible for healthcare coverage under another employer’s plan(s). Notwithstanding the foregoing, (i) if any plan pursuant to which such benefits are provided is not, or ceases prior to the expiration of the period of continuation coverage to be, exempt from the application of Section 409A of the Code under Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-1(a)(5), or (ii) the Company is otherwise unable to continue to cover Executive under its group health plans without penalty under applicable law (including without limitation, Section 2716 of the Public Health Service Act), then, in either case, an amount equal to each remaining Company subsidy shall thereafter be paid to Executive in substantially equal monthly installments. After the Company ceases to pay premiums pursuant to this Section 6(c)(ii), Executive may, if eligible, elect to continue healthcare coverage at Executive’s expense in accordance with the provisions of COBRA. Executive shall notify the Company immediately if Executive becomes covered by a group health plan of a subsequent employer.
4 Twelve (12) months for CEO; Nine (9) months for other executive officers.
5 Twelve (12) months for CEO; Nine (9) months for other executive officers.
6 Eighteen (18) months for CEO; Twelve (12) months for other executive officers.
7 One and one-half (1.5) for CEO; One (1) for other executive officers.
8 Eighteen (18) months for CEO; Twelve (12) months for other executive officers.
(iii) Each outstanding and unvested equity award, including, without limitation, each stock option, restricted stock unit and stock appreciation right, held by Executive shall automatically become vested and, if applicable, exercisable and any forfeiture restrictions or rights of repurchase thereon shall immediately lapse with respect to one hundred percent (100%) of the shares subject thereto, as of immediately prior to the Date of Termination; provided that the treatment of performance targets with respect to each equity award subject to performance-based vesting shall be as specified in the award agreement and such provision in the applicable award agreement shall control.
(d) No Other Severance. Except as otherwise approved by the Board, the provisions of this Section 6 shall supersede in their entirety any severance payment provisions in any severance plan, policy, program, or other arrangement maintained by the Company, including without limitation, the Offer Letter.
(e) No Requirement to Mitigate; Survival. Executive shall not be required to mitigate the amount of any payment provided for under this Agreement by seeking other employment or in any other manner. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, the termination of Executive’s employment shall not impair the rights or obligations of any Party.
(f) Definition of Cause. For purposes hereof, “Cause” means: (i) Executive’s material and repeated failure to perform Executive’s assigned duties or responsibilities as an officer of the Company (other than a failure resulting from Executive’s Disability (as defined herein)) after written notice thereof from the Company describing Executive’s failure to perform such duties or responsibilities and reasonable opportunity to cure such performance failure within a period of fifteen (15) calendar days following such notice from the Company; (ii) Executive’s engaging in any act of dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation in relation to Executive’s duties to the Company; (iii) Executive’s violation of any federal or state law or regulation applicable to the business of the Company or its affiliates; (iv) Executive’s breach of any confidentiality agreement or invention assignment agreement between Executive and the Company (or any affiliate of the Company); (v) Executive’s material violation of written Company policies including but not limited to its Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct; or (vi) Executive’s commission of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, any crime or committing any act of moral turpitude.
(g) Definition of Change in Control. For purposes hereof, “Change in Control” has the meaning ascribed to such term under the Company’s 2021 Incentive Award Plan, as may be amended from time to time; provided, that such transaction must also constitute a “change in control event” within the meaning of Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-3(i)(5).
(h) Definition of Change in Control Period. For purposes hereof, “Change in Control Period” shall mean the period commencing on a Change in Control and ending 12 months after such Change in Control.
(i) Definition of Covered Termination. For purposes hereof, “Covered Termination” shall mean the termination of Executive’s employment by the Company without Cause or by Executive for Good Reason. For the avoidance of doubt, a Covered Termination shall not include a termination due to Executive’s death or disability.
(j) Definition of Disability. For purposes hereof, “Disability” has the meaning set forth under the long-term disability policy of the Company or a related entity to which Executive provides services regardless of whether Executive is covered by such policy. If the Company or the related entity to which Executive provides service does not have a long-term disability plan in place, “Disability” means that Executive is unable to carry out the responsibilities and functions of the position held by Executive by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment for a period of not less than ninety (90) consecutive days. Executive will not be considered to have incurred a Disability unless Executive furnishes proof of such impairment sufficient to satisfy the Board in its discretion.
(k) Definition of Good Reason. For purposes hereof, “Good Reason” for Executive to terminate Executive’s employment hereunder shall mean the occurrence of any of the following events without Executive’s consent: (i) a material reduction in Executive’s salary, other than as a result of a similar reduction in compensation affecting employees of the Company, or its successor entity, generally; (ii) a material diminution in Executive’s authority, duties or responsibilities; or (iii) relocation of Executive’s place of employment to a location more than fifty (50) miles from the Company’s office location, provided, in each case, that if any of the events set forth above shall occur, Executive shall give written notice of such event to the Company, or its successor entity, within thirty (30) days following such event, and if such event is not cured within thirty (30) calendar days from such notice (the “Good Reason Cure Period”) Executive may exercise Executive’s rights to resign for Good Reason, provided that if Executive has not exercised such right within forty-five (45) days of the expiration of the Good Reason Cure Period Executive shall be deemed to have agreed to the occurrence of such event.
7. Assignment and Successors. The Company shall assign its rights and obligations under this Agreement to any successor to all or substantially all of the business or the assets of the Company (by merger or otherwise). This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the Company, Executive, and their respective successors, assigns, personnel, and legal representatives, executors, administrators, heirs, distributees, devisees, and legatees, as applicable. None of Executive’s rights or obligations may be assigned or transferred by Executive, other than Executive’s rights to payments hereunder, which may be transferred only by will, operation of law, or as otherwise provided herein.
8. Miscellaneous Provisions.
(a) Confidentiality Agreement. Concurrent with the execution of this Agreement, Executive has entered into and hereby affirms Executive’s obligations under that certain At-Will Employment, Confidential Information, Invention Assignment, and Arbitration Agreement or other confidentiality agreement by and between the Company and Executive (the “Confidentiality Agreement”). The Confidentiality Agreement shall survive the termination of this Agreement and Executive’s employment with the Company for the applicable period(s) set forth therein. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event of any conflict between the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement and the terms of this Agreement, the terms of this Agreement shall prevail.
(b) Governing Law. This Agreement shall be governed, construed, interpreted, and enforced in accordance with its express terms, and otherwise in accordance with the substantive laws of the State of California, without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of law, whether of the State of California or any other jurisdiction, and where applicable, the laws of the United States, that would result in the application of the laws of any other jurisdiction.
(c) Validity. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this Agreement shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement, which shall remain in full force and effect.
(d) Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in several counterparts, each of which shall be deemed to be an original, but all of which together will constitute one and the same Agreement. Signatures delivered by facsimile shall be deemed effective for all purposes.
(e) Entire Agreement. The terms of this Agreement, together with the Confidentiality Agreement, are intended by the Parties to be the final expression of their agreement with respect to the employment of Executive by the Company and supersede all prior understandings and agreements, whether written or oral, regarding Executive’s service to the Company, including without limitation, the Offer Letter; provided, that the terms of any award agreements governing stock options outstanding on the date hereof shall continue to govern the terms of such stock options to the extent more favorable to the Executive. The Parties further intend that this Agreement, together with the Confidentiality Agreement, shall constitute the complete and exclusive statement of their terms and that no extrinsic evidence whatsoever may be introduced in any judicial, administrative, or other legal proceeding to vary the terms of this Agreement or the Confidentiality Agreement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event of any conflict between the terms of the Confidentiality Agreement and the terms of this Agreement, the terms of this Agreement shall prevail.
(f) Amendments; Waivers. This Agreement may not be modified, amended, or terminated except by an instrument in writing signed by Executive and a duly authorized representative of the Company. By an instrument in writing similarly executed, Executive or a duly authorized officer of the Company, as applicable, may waive compliance by the other Party with any specifically identified provision of this Agreement that such other Party was or is obligated to comply with or perform; provided, however, that such waiver shall not operate as a waiver of, or estoppel with respect to, any other or subsequent failure. No failure to exercise and no delay in exercising any right, remedy, or power hereunder shall preclude any other or further exercise of any other right, remedy, or power provided herein or by law or in equity.
(g) Dispute Resolution. To ensure the timely and economical resolution of disputes that arise in connection with this Agreement, Executive and the Company agree that, except as excluded herein, any and all controversies, claims and disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement, including without limitation any alleged violation of its terms or otherwise arising out of the Parties’ relationship, shall be resolved solely and exclusively by final and binding arbitration held in Alameda County, California through JAMS in conformity with California law and the then-existing JAMS employment arbitration rules, which can be found at https://www.jamsadr.com/rules-employment-arbitration/. The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq. shall govern the interpretation and enforcement of this arbitration clause. All remedies available from a court of competent jurisdiction shall be available in the arbitration; provided, however, in the event of a breach of Section 8(a), the Company may request relief from a court of competent jurisdiction if such relief is not available or not available in a timely fashion through arbitration as determined by the Company. The arbitrator shall: (a) provide adequate discovery for the resolution of the dispute; and (b) issue a written arbitration decision, to include the arbitrator’s essential findings and conclusions and a statement of the award. The arbitrator shall award the prevailing Party attorneys’ fees and expert fees, if any. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is acknowledged that it will be impossible to measure in money the damages that would be suffered if the Parties fail to comply with any of the obligations imposed on them under Section 8(a), and that in the event of any such failure, an aggrieved person will be irreparably damaged and will not have an adequate remedy at law. Any such person shall, therefore, be entitled to seek injunctive relief, including specific performance, to enforce such obligations, and if any action shall be brought in equity to enforce any of the provisions of Section 8(a), none of the Parties shall raise the defense, without a good faith basis for raising such defense, that there is an adequate remedy at law. Executive and the Company understand that by agreement to arbitrate any claim pursuant to this Section 8(g), they will not have the right to have any claim decided by a jury or a court, but shall instead have any claim decided through arbitration. Executive and the Company waive any constitutional or other right to bring claims covered by this Agreement other than in their individual capacities. Except as may be prohibited by applicable law, the foregoing waiver includes the ability to assert claims as a plaintiff or class member in any purported class or collective action or representative proceeding. Nothing herein shall limit Executive’s ability to pursue claims for workers compensation or unemployment benefits or pursue other claims which by law cannot be subject to mandatory arbitration.
(h) Enforcement. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be illegal, invalid, or unenforceable under present or future laws, such provision shall be fully severable; this Agreement shall be construed and enforced as if such illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision had never comprised a portion of this Agreement; and the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect and shall not be affected by the illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision or by its severance from this Agreement. Furthermore, in lieu of such illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision there shall be added automatically as part of this Agreement a provision as similar in terms to such illegal, invalid, or unenforceable provision as may be possible and be legal, valid, and enforceable.
(i) Withholding. The Company shall be entitled to withhold from any amounts payable under this Agreement any federal, state, local, or foreign withholding or other taxes or charges which the Company is required to withhold. The Company shall be entitled to rely on an opinion of counsel if any questions as to the amount or requirement of withholding shall arise.
(j) Whistleblower Protections and Trade Secrets. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, nothing in this Agreement prohibits Executive from reporting possible violations of federal law or regulation to any United States governmental agency or entity in accordance with the provisions of and rules promulgated under Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or any other whistleblower protection provisions of state or federal law or regulation (including the right to receive an award for information provided to any such government agencies). Furthermore, in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 1833, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement: (i) Executive shall not be in breach of this Agreement, and shall not be held criminally or civilly liable under any federal or state trade secret law (x) for the disclosure of a trade secret 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, or (y) for the disclosure of a trade secret that is made in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such filing is made under seal; and (ii) if Executive files a lawsuit for retaliation by the Company for reporting a suspected violation of law, Executive may disclose the trade secret to Executive’s attorney, and may use the trade secret information in the court proceeding, if Executive files any document containing the trade secret under seal, and does not disclose the trade secret, except pursuant to court order.
9. Golden Parachute Excise Tax.
(a) Best Pay. Any provision of this Agreement to the contrary notwithstanding, if any payment or benefit Executive would receive from the Company pursuant to this Agreement or otherwise (“Payment”) would (i) constitute a “parachute payment” within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code and (ii) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the “Excise Tax”), then such Payment will be equal to the Reduced Amount (as defined below). The “Reduced Amount” will be either (A) the largest portion of the Payment that would result in no portion of the Payment (after reduction) being subject to the Excise Tax or (B) the entire Payment, whichever amount after taking into account all applicable federal, state, and local employment taxes, income taxes, and the Excise Tax (all computed at the highest applicable marginal rate, net of the maximum reduction in federal income taxes which could be obtained from a deduction of such state and local taxes), results in Executive’s receipt, on an after-tax basis, of the greater economic benefit notwithstanding that all or some portion of the Payment may be subject to the Excise Tax. If a reduction in a Payment is required pursuant to the preceding sentence and the Reduced Amount is determined pursuant to clause (A) of the preceding sentence, the reduction shall occur in the manner (the “Reduction Method”) that results in the greatest economic benefit for Executive. If more than one method of reduction will result in the same economic benefit, the items so reduced will be reduced pro rata (the “Pro Rata Reduction Method”). Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Reduction Method or the Pro Rata Reduction Method would result in any portion of the Payment being subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A (as defined below) that would not otherwise be subject to taxes pursuant to Section 409A, then the Reduction Method and/or the Pro Rata Reduction Method, as the case may be, shall be modified so as to avoid the imposition of taxes pursuant to Section 409A as follows: (1) as a first priority, the modification shall preserve to the greatest extent possible, the greatest economic benefit for Executive as determined on an after-tax basis; (2) as a second priority, Payments that are contingent on future events (e.g., being terminated without cause), shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not contingent on future events; and (3) as a third priority, Payments that are “deferred compensation” within the meaning of Section 409A shall be reduced (or eliminated) before Payments that are not deferred compensation within the meaning of Section 409A.
(b) Accounting Firm. The accounting firm engaged by the Company for general tax purposes as of the day prior to the Change in Control will perform the calculations set forth in Section 9(a). If the firm so engaged by the Company is serving as the accountant or auditor for the acquiring company, the Company will appoint a nationally recognized accounting firm to make the determinations required hereunder. The Company will bear all expenses with respect to the determinations by such firm required to be made hereunder. The accounting firm engaged to make the determinations hereunder will provide its calculations, together with detailed supporting documentation, to the Company within thirty (30) days before the consummation of a Change in Control (if requested at that time by the Company) or such other time as requested by the Company. If the accounting firm determines that no Excise Tax is payable with respect to a Payment, either before or after the application of the Reduced Amount, it will furnish the Company with documentation reasonably acceptable to the Company that no Excise Tax will be imposed with respect to such Payment. Any good faith determinations of the accounting firm made hereunder will be final, binding and conclusive upon the Company and Executive.
10. Section 409A.
(a) General. The intent of the Parties is that the payments and benefits under this Agreement comply with or be exempt from Section 409A of the Code and the Department of Treasury regulations and other interpretive guidance issued thereunder, including without limitation any such regulations or other guidance that may be issued after the Effective Date, (“Section 409A”) and, accordingly, to the maximum extent permitted, this Agreement shall be interpreted to be in compliance therewith. Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement to the contrary, if the Company determines that any compensation or benefits payable under this Agreement may be subject to Section 409A, the Company shall work in good faith with Executive to adopt such amendments to this Agreement or adopt other policies and procedures (including amendments, policies and procedures with retroactive effect), or take any other actions, that the Company determines are necessary or appropriate to avoid the imposition of taxes under Section 409A, including, without limitation, actions intended to (i) exempt the compensation and benefits payable under this Agreement from Section 409A, and/or (ii) comply with the requirements of Section 409A; however, this Section 10(a) shall not create an obligation on the part of the Company to adopt any such amendment, policy or procedure or take any such other action, nor shall the Company (A) have any liability for failing to do so, or (B) incur or indemnify Executive for any taxes, interest or other liabilities arising under or by operation of Section 409A.
(b) Separation from Service, Installments and Reimbursements. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Agreement: (i) no amount that constitutes “deferred compensation” under Section 409A shall be payable pursuant to Section 6 unless the termination of Executive’s employment constitutes a “separation from service” within the meaning of Section 1.409A-1(h) of the Department of Treasury Regulations (“Separation from Service”); (ii) for purposes of Section 409A, Executive’s right to receive installment payments shall be treated as a right to receive a series of separate and distinct payments; and (iii) to the extent that any reimbursement of expenses or in-kind benefits constitutes “deferred compensation” under Section 409A, such reimbursement or benefit shall be provided no later than December 31st of the year following the year in which the expense was incurred. The amount of expenses reimbursed in one year shall not affect the amount eligible for reimbursement in any subsequent year. The amount of any in-kind benefits provided in one year shall not affect the amount of in-kind benefits provided in any other year.
(c) Specified Employee. Notwithstanding anything in this Agreement to the contrary, if Executive is deemed by the Company at the time of Executive’s Separation from Service to be a “specified employee” for purposes of Section 409A, to the extent delayed commencement of any portion of the benefits to which Executive is entitled under this Agreement is required in order to avoid a prohibited distribution under Section 409A, such portion of Executive’s benefits shall not be provided to Executive prior to the earlier of (i) the expiration of the six-month period measured from the date of Executive’s Separation from Service with the Company or (ii) the date of Executive’s death. Upon the first business day following the expiration of the applicable Section 409A period, all payments deferred pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be paid in a lump sum to Executive (or Executive’s estate or beneficiaries), and any remaining payments due to Executive under this Agreement shall be paid as otherwise provided herein.
(d) Release. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, to the extent that any payments due under this Agreement as a result of Executive’s termination of employment are subject to Executive’s execution and delivery of the Release, (i) if Executive fails to execute the Release on or prior to the Release Expiration Date (as defined below) or timely revokes Executive’s acceptance of the Release thereafter, Executive shall not be entitled to any payments or benefits otherwise conditioned on the Release, and (ii) in any case where Executive’s Date of Termination and the last day the Release may be considered or, if applicable, revoked, fall in two separate taxable years, any payments required to be made to Executive that are conditioned on the Release and are treated as nonqualified deferred compensation for purposes of Section 409A shall be made in the later taxable year. For purposes of this Section 10(d), “Release Expiration Date” shall mean (1) if Executives is under 40 years old as of the Date of Termination, the date that is seven (7) days following the date upon which the Company timely delivers the Release to Executive, and (2) if Executive is 40 years or older as of the Date of Termination, the date that is 21 days following the date upon which the Company timely delivers the Release to Executive, or, in the event that Executive’s termination of employment is “in connection with an exit incentive or other employment termination program” (as such phrase is defined in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967), the date that is 45 days following such delivery date. To the extent that any payments of nonqualified deferred compensation (within the meaning of Section 409A) due under this Agreement as a result of Executive’s termination of employment are delayed pursuant to this Section 10(d), such amounts shall be paid in a lump sum on the first payroll date following the date that Executive executes and does not revoke the Release (and the applicable revocation period has expired) or, in the case of any payments subject to Section 10(d)(ii), on the first payroll period to occur in the subsequent taxable year, if later.
11. Employee Acknowledgement. Executive acknowledges that Executive has read and understands this Agreement, is fully aware of its legal effect, has not acted in reliance upon any representations or promises made by the Company other than those contained in writing herein, and has entered into this Agreement freely based on Executive’s own judgment.
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The Parties have executed this Agreement as of the date first set forth above.
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