Throughout your career, you may have to sign different types of employment contracts. Before signing anything, make sure you run your contract by an employment contract review lawyer in Charlotte before you sign anything.
The team at Gibbons Leis, PLLC will review your contract and make sure it is fair and that you understand all the terms and conditions.
What does an employment contract review consist of?
There are three major types of employment contract review:
- Review of a general employment agreement presented to an employee during the hiring process;
- Review of a severance agreement when an employer terminates an employee; and
- Review of a non-compete agreement to determine the scope of prohibited activities and whether the agreement is enforceable.
General Employment Contract Review
Typically, only high-level employees, such as doctors and executives, receive general employment agreements. These agreements establish the terms and conditions of employment including:
- Compensation: The contract will specify your salary, bonuses, and other means of compensation.
- Vacation and sick leave
- Health benefits
- Employee behavior after termination of employment: Employers can restrict employees from using confidential information belonging to the employer or restrict the employee from competing with the employer in his or her next job. This can be a condition of employment for a new employee or imposed on an existing employee.
- Employee grievance procedures: This is the process through which an employee can bring a complaint or concern to upper management.
Severance Agreement Review
No matter what industry you are in, your employer may have you sign a severance agreement when he or she terminates you from a position. In most cases, the employer will ask the employee to waive the right to sue in order to receive a severance package.
In many cases, a severance agreement will contain a non-compete agreement.
Non-Compete Agreement Review
Employers sometimes require employees to sign non-compete agreements when they are first hired, but the agreements only go into effect after the employee has left.
Employers require non-compete agreements to protect a legitimate business interest of the employer (e.g., customer lists, price lists, marketing plans, etc.). Executives, salespeople, and medical professionals are the most likely to sign such agreements, but we see non-compete agreements in all types of industries and jobs.
Reviewing a non-compete agreement can help ensure sure that it is valid and fair to both the employer and the employee.
Phil Gibbons focuses entirely on employment law so he knows what is fair and what is not. We can review your contract to ensure you know what you are signing and whether you are signing away your rights.
What are the benefits of a contract review?
When you get offered your dream job, the last thing you might be thinking about is reading the fine print of your employment contract.
However, you need to read every line carefully. General employment contracts can include detailed terms and conditions that could impact your career and personal life for years to come.
Here are some of the common provisions and terms to take note of when looking over your employment contract:
- Termination: In most cases, employment is at-will. This means that the employer can terminate your employment at any time for any reason by giving a certain amount of notice.
- Just-cause termination: As an employee, you want to make sure that the contract requires that the employer has just cause for terminating you.
- Job description: There needs to be a clear picture of what you will be doing in terms of work.
- Side jobs: If you plan on having a second job, you should make sure your contract does not prohibit that.
- Inventions and copyrights: If you create something while working for your employer, your employer may own the intellectual property rights to that. If you are already working on something, you should claim that in the contract.
- Non-solicitation: The contract may prohibit you from working with former clients and employees after you leave. Make sure this provision only applies to a reasonable amount of time.
- Compensation and benefits: Make sure the contract includes specifics in terms of base pay, bonuses, health insurance etc.
- Arbitration clauses: Employment contracts may include this clause to require the employer and employee to arbitrate any future disputes rather than go to court.
- Non-compete clause: A non-compete clause can limit where you work after termination. Make sure the clause is fair and enforceable.
Do I need a contract review?
In some cases, employers will make employment contracts overly complicated. Reviewing a contract may be necessary to ensure that the contract protects your rights and not just your employer’s. We can help you review your contract prior to signing and after signing.
Prior to Signing
Before you sign your general employment contract, you will want to have a clear understanding of what your employer expects of you. You may also have the opportunity to negotiate with your employer and make changes if necessary. Adding terms and getting rid of unfavorable terms at the beginning of your employment could end up protecting you in the long run.
While it may seem pointless to review a contract after you have signed it, it can be beneficial in some cases. Things like non-compete agreements may not seem like a big deal when you first start your new job, but they can severely restrict you when you are changing jobs.
By reviewing your non-compete agreement, you may be able to find a way to make it unenforceable or determine new ways to get around the restrictions of the agreement.
Consult an Attorney to Review Your Employment Contract
Consulting a knowledgeable Charlotte employment law attorney before entering into a general employment contract with your employer can make a huge difference in protecting your legal rights.
Your attorney can give you advice regarding your agreement and help you determine if it is in your best interest to sign the agreement as-is. Your attorney can also help you figure out which additional terms to include and which provisions you should edit or remove altogether.
Phil Gibbons has spent countless hours reviewing employment contracts just like yours. For an in-depth review of your general employment contract, call Gibbons Leis, PLLC today: 704-612-0038.