Under this agreement, two years after termination of a contract for whatever reasons, an employee is not allowed to enter into (i) a contract of employment or render services to an entity competing with Coca-Cola or (ii) any client of the company whom they have had business dealings with during their period of employment. Enforcement of such agreements at times can be difficult because ideally, there are no universal terms protecting from competition, solicitation, and sharing of trade secrets. Restrictive trade covenants vary with location. Anderson, (2012) points out that considering the spread of information through the social media enforcement of restrictive covenants has become difficult. One way that the Coca-Cola Company might deal with such issues is by extracting an expression of promise to the employees in the form of restrictive covenant.
At the Coca-Cola Company, this provision restricts employees from soliciting or attempting to solicit a client to get into a business similar to that of the organization. Soliciting in this context refer to the activity of directly asking potential clients or consumers to purchase goods or offer services without the company's knowledge. The agreement also inhibits the employees from persuading customers to engage in business with an entity which competes with the organization. Additionally, it prevents them from influencing client relationship established by the company or potential customer relationship. The solicitation should only be done under the organization's provisions within the two years contract of employment.
The Coca-Cola Company also acknowledges the employees as part of their critical asset. Without the employees, the company is not able to achieve its goals. Therefore, in the non-soliciting agreement, the organization prevents employees whose contracts have been terminated from soliciting or attempting to solicit any employee whose contract is not yet concluded.
My suggestion on how the company might improve its non-solicitation restrictive provision is as follows. Given that clients are at will to conduct business with an entity of their choosing, Coca-Cola Company should identify and reward their long-term consumers for maintaining their loyalty. This would prevent solicitation by other firms. On employee solicitation, there should be a legal binding contract because the employees are critical assets of the company and their absence would mean a collapse of the organization.
Access and Use of Confidential and Proprietary Information
It is believed that Coca-Cola is the most secretive company in the world because they have managed to keep their recipe a secret for many years. Sources reveal that the formula is only known to two people. While there are many speculations to this, the Coca-Cola Company has not made it public knowledge to the exact number of people privy to the knowledge of how to prepare the recipe. There are also claims that the formula for the secret ingredient has never been written down anywhere.
Regarding confidentiality, Coca-Cola's employment contract states that employees shall acquire access to the company's confidential information. Upon termination of contract for whatever reasons the employees are required to hold in confidence all crucial information of the company. The agreement also allows the employees to access trade secrets which they are also required to keep confidential (Niebel, Martinis & Clark, 2018). As such, they are inhibited from disclosing, publishing or making use of the information unless compelled by the law which in case they would be required to notify the company through a written notice.
Transfer of Intellectual Property Work Product
To stay competitive, Coca-Cola Company has developed ways of protecting its tangible and intangible assets. The organization owns a copyright in the bottle designs, its famous Coca-Cola logo, advertising and any other thing considered an original work of the company. The trademark protection gives the company the rights to stop its competitors from unfair competition by prohibiting confusion of commodities. The Coke bottle shape is a trade-mark. Regarding patent rights, Coca-Cola Company has various inventions. One of them is their unique method of making plastic containers that are barrier coated. The company owns exclusive rights of making such containers. The formula used for making Coca-Cola is a trade secret and was patented in 1893. It is an extremely valuable secret of the company that has remained undisclosed for a century now (Anderson, 2011). It is the trade secret that gives the company a competitive advantage.
Access and Use of Technology Resources
In this era of globalization, technology plays a vital role in many organizations. Technology has made activities of production, marketing and distribution easier (Benady, 2014). Countless conversation regarding different organizations takes place online, and as a result, the Coca-Cola Company has adapted to this changes. Regarding social media, the organization has made specific vital commitments that guide their interaction on the platform. These include; transparency, protection of consumer's privacy in line with privacy policies, respect to copyrights, rights of publicity and trademarks. The company also takes responsibility in ensuring that they do not align with websites or organizations that use tracking software, malware, adware or spyware. It is also within the organization's commitment to reasonably monitor their behavior in the networking sites guided by law or the industry's best interests.
The purpose of conducting performance evaluation is to help the management in making useful human resource decisions. An organizational assessment provides significant inputs regarding transfers, promotions, and terminations (Cascio, 2018). It also helps in the identification of training and developments that are required. The Coca-Cola Company conducts its performance appraisal annually. Appraisal of employees is based on their performance concerning the organization goals. At the beginning of every year, goals are set, and each employee is briefed on the goal. If the goal is achieved by the employees, they are appraised. The parameters for the reward system of the organization include sales reward, personal development of individuals, inflation rate factor, individual goal setting, training, and development. Some of the annual rewards by the Coca-Cola Company include Salary increment, annual incentive plan and change of designation.
The Coca-Cola Company's statement on diversity legislation states that the organization values diversity, inclusion, and equality. The business does not support denial of services to clients or employees by any discrimination. Any conduct that promotes discrimination violates the company's core values. Like any other business, it aims at fostering unity, diversity, and respect. On several instances, the company has come under fire on allegations of promoting discrimination as seen in the 2015 Mexico Coca-Cola advertisement (Tegel, 2015). To prevent damaging of the company's reputation on accusations of bias the management should work towards understanding different cultures.
Health and Safety
The long-term success of Coca-Cola Company can also be attributed to the efforts made in ensuring that visitors, employees, and consumers are guaranteed protection. The organization believes that safe and healthy workplace is imperative to the business. According to the organization's workplace rights policy, the management takes responsibility for maintaining a workplace that is productive by minimizing potential risks and hazards in all its satellite companies. Additionally, the company strongly emphasizes on mitigation of behaviors and conditions that create potential workplace injuries. The organization's lost-time incident rate since 2011 indicates a continuous improvement in safety excellence. The company's operation requirements are in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS). However, the company has been cited on several occasions by OSHA for repeated violations of obstructed exit routes, unmarked exits and poor storage of gas cylinders (Hardcastle, 2015). To prevent such violations in future, the company should collaborate with safety standards organizations to educate them on how to promote workplace and market safety.
Anderson, D. R. (2012). Restricting Social Graces. The Implications of Social Media for Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts, 884-883.
Anderson, J. (2011). Secret Inventions. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 949-952.
Beatty, J. F., Samuelson, S. S., & Abril, P. S. (2018). Essentials of Business Law. Cengage Learning.
Benady, D. (2014). How technology is changing marketing. The Guardian, 4.
Cascio, W. (2018). Managing human resources. McGraw-Hill Education.Hardcastle, J. L. (2015). Coca-Cola Fined $61K for EHS Violations. Environmental Leader, 2.
Niebel, R., de Martinis, L., & Clark, B. (2018). The EU Trade Secrets Directive: all change for trade secret protection in Europe?. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice.Tegel, S. (2015). Mexico's anti-discrimination agency investigates Coca-Cola for 'racist' Christmas ad. GlobalPost, 3-4.
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