Employment Contract Drafting
What are employment contracts?
Employment contracts are written agreements between employers and employees, which set the terms and conditions of employment. They spell out the important terms, such as pay, hours, duties, certain rules, and what the employee will be entitled to upon termination of employment.
Why do I need a lawyer to draft my company's employment contracts?
Most terms of employment must be drafted with highly specific language in order to be enforceable, such as termination provisions, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements, and terms related to the ownership of work product.
If, for instance, a termination provision is improperly drafted, it can mean that a court will simply ignore the contract and award the employee full damages for wrongful dismissal.
Can any lawyer draft a proper employment contract?
No. This is highly specialized work. In fact, many lawyers who call themselves employment law specialists will not attempt to draft employment contracts because of the highly technical nature of this work. Employment contract provisions are either enforceable - making them very valuable indeed - or completely unenforceable, making them not worth the paper they are written on.
It is unfortunately common for these provisions to be unenforceable based upon poor drafting. The law is so uncertain and fast-moving in this area that wrongful dismissal cases will frequently go to court where the only major issue is the wording of the termination provision. The same goes for non-competition and non-solicitation agreements - lawsuits arising out of breaches of these agreements frequently turn on the enforceability of the contractual language.
With this context in mind, you should only trust an expert, specialized, and experienced employment lawyer to draft your company's employment contracts - it could save untold amounts of money down the road.
What else do we need to know about employment contracts?
There are a number of other pitfalls that will render employment contracts unenforceable. It is important to speak to an expert. For instance, the timing of when an employment contract is signed is a crucial detail - we recommend that all employment contracts be signed before the employee starts work. It is also important to regularly update employment contracts - both to remain compliant with developments in the law, and when an employee's position changes over time (for instance, through a promotion).
What other terms should be included in an employment contract?
Aside from those terms already mentioned, there are several other terms of employment that we regularly advise our clients to include in their employment contracts, such as:
Provisions addressing the payment of commissions and bonus, and what happens to those payments upon termination.
Agreements to adhere to various company policies.
Provisions addressing fundamental terms of employment, such as a requirement to bear certain licenses.
Provisions dealing with resignation by the employee.
Provisions limiting the effect of oral representations about matters not addressed in the contract.
What can Hyde HR Law do for my company?
The lawyers at Hyde HR Law are experts in drafting and interpreting employment contracts. We review your existing contracts, update the language to accord with the most recent legal precedents, and suggest specific contract provisions to suit your business needs. As a client, you benefit from our years of experience in drafting employment agreements. Contact us today.