Getting a new job is exciting and could be something you’ve been looking for for quite some time. However, one mistake that could turn this opportunity into a setback is signing an employment agreement without knowing what you are agreeing to.
Before you sign anything as a new employee, it can be a good idea to know about potential red flags you might encounter.
Inaccurate or inconsistent information
Does your agreement get your pay rate, job title or other crucial elements wrong? Does it give conflicting information about your rights as an employee? If so, calling this out before signing can be essential. Failure to do so could lead to confusion or disputes in the future.
Overly restrictive clauses
Is there anything that will restrict where you work or what you do after leaving this job? Are there clauses that limit you in your personal life? If there are overly restrictive clauses, including unnecessary or unenforceable non-compete clauses, think carefully before signing.
You may want to work with an attorney to challenge these elements or negotiate to reduce any adverse consequences these might have on you in the future.
Wild promises or vague explanations
An employment agreement is not the place to make promises employers cannot fulfill or leave room for interpretation. If you spot any clauses that seem unrealistic or unclear, don’t be afraid to get clarification.
A solid employment contract should be specific, clear and practical. If yours is not, it could be a red flag that your employer is concealing something or making empty promises.
Informal presentation or language
People don’t always like to use or read legalese. And employers may find they’d rather use straightforward language or insider slang or be very casual in presenting you with an agreement. While the intention may be to portray their workplace culture or alleviate the stress of job candidates, this approach could be problematic.
Remember: Employment agreements are still contracts intended to be legally enforceable.
If you are starting a new job and spot these or other red flags in an employment agreement, don’t be afraid to ask for time to review it on your own and with legal counsel. Doing so can help you protect yourself in your new job and life afterward.