Why should I have my employment contract reviewed by an employment lawyer?
You should have your employment contract reviewed by an experienced employment lawyer for a number of reasons. Most often, an employment lawyer will review your contract before you sign it to assist you with negotiating a job offer and protect you from unknowingly signing some of your legal entitlements away. An employment lawyer will also review your employment contract after you sign it to determine whether you can sue for wrongful dismissal if you have been terminated.
Why do I need legal advice on my employment contract?
While salary and benefits may seem straightforward enough, things are not always as they seem in employment contracts. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to interpret some terms of an employment agreement without detailed background knowledge of the common law and employment standards legislation. In our experience, most employment contracts contain provisions that say one thing on paper and mean almost the opposite in practice. For instance, provisions restricting your entitlements upon termination of employment are routinely determined by courts to be void and unenforceable at law; you may not know whether you have a good case for wrongful dismissal until you receive legal advice on your contract. Alternatively, well written contracts can significantly reduce your entitlements upon termination; obtaining independent legal advice prior to signing an employment agreement is the best way to protect your interests.
What terms of a contract may not be as they appear?
Virtually any term or condition might not mean what it appears to mean when viewed through the lens of employment law. Even some of the most seemingly basic terms of employment can be extremely misleading, including:
Salary and benefits
Bonuses and bonus structure
Non-solicitation and non-competition clauses
Hours of work and overtime
Fixed terms and termination of employment
A slight variation in the legal language, which may seem trivial or unimportant, can actually make a world of difference from a legal perspective.
How can having my employment contract reviewed by a lawyer help me in negotiating a job offer?
One of the best reasons to have your employment contract reviewed is to help you negotiate a better job offer. By obtaining legal advice from an expert, you can arm yourself with the knowledge of knowing what to focus on during negotiations.
We believe that most employees should at least attempt to negotiate the first job offer they receive from an employer. The reason is simple: If you don't ask for anything, you don't receive anything. A shocking number of employees accept their first offer of employment, without even attempting to negotiate. One study by Robert Half found that only 39% of employees sought to negotiate pay in their last offer of employment.
If you are one of the 61% of employees who did not negotiate, perhaps you assumed that the terms did not matter, that they were "set in stone", or that attempting to negotiate would put your job offer at risk. We have found that all of these assumptions regularly prove false. In the majority of cases, you stand only to gain from negotiating. In some cases, you might gain your employer's respect by showing your confidence, ambition, and long-term view to the employment relationship.
What can Hyde HR Law do for me?
The lawyers at Hyde HR Law are employment contract experts. We draft employment agreements for our employer clients, and we pick apart poorly drafted contracts for our employee clients. We can help you understand the terms of your employment contract at minimal cost, whether you're at the beginning or end of your relationship with your employer. Our advice can help you engage in meaningful contract negotiations and give you a better understanding of your contractual rights and obligations under your existing employment agreement. Contact us today.