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Commonly Overlooked Elements of Employment Contracts

 

When individuals debate whether to sign a new employment contract, it can be tempting to focus on salary above all else. This instinct is understandable because salary plays an important role in any worker’s overall livelihood and ability to support a family. However, there are many elements beyond salary negotiation involved in an employment contract that individuals need to consider before signing on the dotted line.

 

Don’t Neglect Job Security

Salary isn’t going to mean much if an employee can be terminated from their job quickly and without cause. Employees need to have protection from the potential of involuntary termination within the scope of their contracts. Involuntary termination isn’t typically written into contracts automatically as a general rule.

Furthermore, the potential causes for job termination should be specified clearly in an employment contract. It may benefit you to have your attorney read over the contract and to determine what kind of breadth an employer has to terminate employment. Adequate contractual protection can help to better ensure job security over time.

Does the Contract Have Beginning and End Dates?

The contract should always have a start and end date. In fact, this is a necessity in all employment contracts. An employment contract that doesn’t have any of these dates is simply an offer letter. Also, make sure that these start dates don’t overlap with the end of a prior employment contract. This is a quick way to get into hot water legally, especially if the contract contains language that allows the employer to terminate employment within the first 30 or 60 days.

Non-compete Clause

Many contracts contain a non-compete clause. These clauses can be nuanced and terms may vary. For example, non-compete clauses often prevent an employee choosing to leave their job from taking a similar position in the same geographic area in the near future. Depending on the language, signing this contract could make it nearly impossible to get a job after leaving the position outlined within the contract. Your attorney can help you to make sure that any non-compete clauses have reasonable terms. Without reasonable terms, it may not be enforceable.

Everyone who is starting a new job should work with an experienced employment law attorney to review their potential contract carefully. Taking this time and effort may save you money, time, stress and opportunities for advancement or transfer to a new position in the future. 

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