Having an employment agreement in place is a good thing for an employee as it clearly states the terms of employment that are required between the employer and the employee. If a dispute arises, it’s easier to settle it because terms are clearly written and anyone who is at fault can easily be identified using the employment agreement document.
The employment agreement doesn’t only specify the duties of the parties; it also addresses the aspects of the employment relationship between the employer and the employee. We’ll share some of the important information that should be written in your employment agreement. As always, contact an experienced lawyer like the ones at our firm before finalizing an agreement.
All employee responsibilities should be stated in the employment agreement. Benefits that are provided by the employer should also be included in the document, such as vacation leave, sick time, bonuses, health insurance and other important benefits that are given to other employees.
The terms of the contract should be outlined, and the duration of employment is stated. The duration of employment, for example, may be a year-to-year contract that is renewed every year or not renewed.
The agreement should clearly state the conditions that will lead to termination; this is certainly one of the most important aspects when it comes to an employment agreement.
Ownership of Work Produced
Generally, any work done by an employee is the property of the employer. The work-for-hire concept is an exception to copyright law, in which the work is owned by the creator. This is best addressed in an employment agreement as to whom the work-product belongs to and/or how much compensation will be given for the work-product.
This is another important aspect you don’t want to overlook, it should be stated how disputes are going to be dealt with when they arise. As an employee, you should come up with something you’re comfortable with. Arbitration is a common type of dispute resolution, here’s a sample arbitration clause used by some lawyers:
An attorney of this firm will only meet with you if you agree that any disputes between you and this firm will be resolved by arbitration handled via the American Arbitration Association. That means, if you sue this firm, you give up the right to a jury trial and agree that any trial of the dispute will be handled only by an arbitrator. This waiver of a jury trial applies whether or not the disputes, claims or controversies are based on events that have already occurred or will occur in the future. You also agree that venue is proper, for example, only in Gainesville, Florida. That means that, if you sue this firm, you must do it in Gainesville, Florida. The law firm’s consideration for this waiver is its agreement to meet with you. That means, in exchange for our agreement to meet with you to discuss your legal matter, you agree to give up your right to a jury trial in any lawsuit between us.
At-Will Employment Agreements
With a well-written employment contract, the employer is restricted from firing employees anyway that they wish to or for no reason at all. An at-will employment agreement is when employers and employees can both go their separate ways when they want to without any reason or resolution. This means the employee can leave the job without giving notice and also the employer can terminate your hire for no reason and without warning. Employers may offer a prospective employee an employment agreement to protect the rights of both the employer and the employee. It establishes what exactly each is obligated to provide. When you are hired without signing an employment agreement this is commonly known as an “at will” agreement. It is your best interest to have an employment contract and a good understanding of it.
Compensation is very important in any employment agreement. You want to make sure that you are going to be paid fairly for the job you do. Compensation and benefits should be put in writing: pay raises, bonuses, reimbursable expenses, health care, vacation leave and sick time with the obligations that are expected of both parties. Having this in written form is the best way to ensure that you are treated reasonably if a dispute arises between you and your employer. It is a legally binding document.
You should understand the company terms before signing an employment agreement. This includes confidential and privacy terms; some companies can prohibit employees from working for their competitors.
Seek a Qualified Lawyer
There are a lot of things to consider, but ultimately it all comes down to agreeing to what your desired terms are, prior to being hired. This is done with an employment agreement. Employers and companies may have a number of misrepresentations in the employment agreement and as an employee, you should consult a lawyer to help you with the process of understanding the contract. Give us a call now at Massey & Duffy so that we can help you with your employment agreement issues.