Contract Review Lawyers in Franklin County
There are many different types of employment contracts in Ohio, but two of the most common are employment agreements and severance agreements. When drafting these agreements, employers will include a number of different terms, are not always in the employee’s best interest. Many employees do not take the time to carefully read these contracts before signing them because they do not want to risk losing their new job. It is only when a dispute arises that they realize there were unfavorable terms in their contract.
It is imperative that all employees thoroughly read and understand any employment contract their employer or prospective employer asks them to sign. A contract review lawyer in Franklin County can help employees understand these contracts, and can provide legal advice if the contract violates the employee’s rights.
Many employees in Ohio are considered at-will, subject to a few exceptions. This means an employer can fire them at any time and for any reason, unless it’s a reason prohibited by law. One of the exceptions to Ohio’s at-will policy is when an employee signs an employment agreement that dictates what is necessary for termination or that specifies a certain length of time for employment. Some of the most common terms found in employment agreements include:
- The length of employment: An employment agreement may outline how long the employee will work for the employer, such as a one-year contract. Sometimes, a provision is included stating the contract will automatically renew unless the employee or employer provides advance notice of termination.
- Job duties: This section of an employment agreement is important because as time goes on, an employee may be asked to take on more tasks without an appropriate increase in salary or wages.
- Salary and benefits: Employment agreements almost always include how much salary the employee will receive. If the employer has promised other benefits, such as health insurance, bonuses, or commissions, employees should always ensure these are also included in the contract.
- Arbitration provisions: Many employers now require employees to sign arbitration agreements as part of an employment contract. Arbitration provisions usually mandate that employees must engage in arbitration and cannot sue the employer in court for any dispute that arises during or after employment. Employees should always read these provisions very carefully
- Non-compete clauses: Non-compete agreements and clauses prohibit an employee from working for the employer’s competition for a certain period of time and sometimes from working within a certain geographic area upon termination.
Just as employers often ask employees to sign employment agreements at the beginning of their employment, they may also offer an employee a severance agreement to sign when their employment is ending.
Employers are not legally required to offer severance packages or contracts. When they choose to, they typically offer employees a certain amount of financial compensation and the employee must agree to certain terms in exchange for the compensation. These include:
- Agreeing not to sue the employer for any dispute that occurred during the application process, or during and after employment
- Agreeing to keep the terms of the severance agreement, and even the existence of an agreement confidential, with the exception of sharing it with their attorneys, spouses, and tax specialists
- Agreeing not to make disparaging statements about the company, regardless of whether they are true or not
- Agreeing not to reapply for a position with the same employer
Severance agreements are legally binding contracts and employees can be sued if they violate the agreements and/or be forced to return any severance compensation received. When an employee is presented with a severance package or contract, they should always speak to a contract review lawyer before signing it to be sure they understand the terms of the agreement. An attorney may also be able to negotiate better terms and additional compensation depending on the circumstances.
Our Franklin County Contract Review Lawyers can Help With Your Employment Contracts
When you sign any employment agreement without first reading it and understanding it, you could be giving up several rights that protect your best interests.
At Marshall & Forman, LLC, our employment attorneys can review these contracts for you, ensure you are not giving up important rights, and help protect your interests. If your employer has asked you to sign an employment or severance contract, call or contact us online first to discuss the benefits and potential pitfalls in signing the agreement.