It’s an exciting moment when a great company offers you an employment contract. But how closely should you read all the details, beyond payment and benefits? Below are some issues that should be closely considered, preferably by an experienced employment contract law attorney.
Job Security – contrary to popular belief, protection from involuntary termination is not automatic just because an employment contract exists. As a starting point, determine whether you are an “at-will” or “fixed-term” employee.
Begin and End Dates – unless there is a specific begin and end date of employment, the letter is just an offer and not a contract; even if dates are listed, the terms of the contract may still make you an at-will employee.
Cause for Termination – as a general rule, an employee benefits more from “just cause” termination (or termination for a reason) as opposed to allowing the employer to have wide discretion regarding this issue.
Job Description – you should, at the least, have the title and job role spelled out especially if the contract locks the employee into this job for several years.
Outside Work – if you plan to moonlight, ensure the contract does not prohibit this; many contracts include an exclusive employment provision, although these clauses are not uniformly enforceable across the 50 states.
Intellectual Property Rights – another common misunderstanding, anything invented during employment is the property of the employer; as such, if there are any projects in the process prior to entering into an employment contract, they should be carved out in the agreement.
Noncompete and/or Nonsolicitation Clause(s) – be weary of an employment contract that bars you from working for a competitor for a significant amount of time after separation; likewise, there may be post-employment restrictions, though the term must be reasonable to be enforceable on your right to conduct business with those you have worked with during the contract period.
Sale of the Employer – just as important, it is essential to lay out what happens to the employment contract in the event the employer is sold.
Employment Contract Law Attorneys
The law governing employment contracts is complex. If you or someone you know has just been offered employment – or is considering leaving a job –the employment contract law attorneys at White Ricotta & Marks P.C. can clearly explain your rights and obligations under the employment contract to which you may be bound. Call (800) 240-9269 today to schedule your free, initial consultation.