Many – if not most – employees are asked to sign contracts when they begin their employment. Sometimes this is an obvious, straightforward contract, while at other times, they may be handed an employee handbook that has a signature page at the back. These contracts are critical, as they establish the rights and responsibilities of both the employee and employer. For this reason, you always want to make sure that you completely understand all of the terms and conditions included in your contract.
At Marshall Forman & Schlein, we are dedicated to helping our clients review and negotiate their employment contracts.
Contract content typically varies based on the field and the employer. However, dispute these differences, some of the common terms all address can include the following:
While contracts do not have to be in writing, they typically are, and you want to ensure that if your employer has made any verbal promises, that these are included in your employment contract.
In some circumstances, employees have the opportunity to negotiate certain terms and conditions of tier employment contracts. In these cases, working with an attorney to ensure that the contract supports the most beneficial relationship possible is ideal; for example, employees will often seek to negotiate benefits and/or compensation, or even circumstances warranting termination, in order to gain additional security for themselves.
It is important to note that while clauses like these – such as non-compete clauses – are enforceable, there are certain requirements that accompany these clauses, such as the requirement that it be “reasonable” in order to protect the employee. Specifically, it must:
Disputes will sometimes arise over whether the employment is at-will or not, how proprietary information is to be handled, and the protocol for handling any disputes that may arise.
In addition, employers (businesses) who enter into service agreements with independent contractors will also typically enter into contracts with these parties. Still, these are different from employment contracts, as there are far fewer obligations owed by employers to independent contractors and consultants. There are circumstances under which an employer will enter into an independent contractor relationship when, legally, that individual actually qualifies as an employee based on the type of work that’s being done. In these cases, issues can arise concerning paying overtime, for example.
A careful review of any contract that has been presented to you, with your attorney present, is the key to understanding what an agreement entails, specifically, and what you are agreeing to, as well as what to expect and what your plan will be, should a dispute arise.
If you have any questions or concerns about employment contracts, contact our Columbus, Ohio, employment law and civil rights attorneys today to find out how we can help.
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