Employment contracts are used by a variety of employers to specifically define the terms and conditions of an employment relationship. Before you sign your employment contract, it is critical that you have an experienced employment attorney review the agreement. While all of the provisions are important, a few items to ensure you pay attention to are set forth hereinbelow. To guide you through the start of your new employment, our team at Michel | King have put together a list of items to review in your employment contract before signing.
#1: Job Description
Before signing your employment contract, you should thoroughly read the job description to avoid feeling overloaded or misled about initial expectations. The employment contract should clearly outline what will be expected of you in this new role. If you were given a vague job description, you should ask your employer for a detailed one. Without a detailed description, there may be a lot of leeway in an employer saying you are not doing your job properly.
Another area you should review in your employment contract is the terms. The terms will specify the time and the grounds for termination if the contract has an expiration date. Your contract should clearly state when and for what reasons an employer can terminate you.
Another critical aspect of any employment contract is compensation. Your contract should clearly explain your compensation and when you should expect to receive your compensation (whether it’s weekly or biweekly). It should also explain bonus structures, profit-sharing plans, and other commission structures. You should make sure that all additional compensation and bonuses are clearly explained. You shouldn’t accept a “we’ll figure it out down the road” answer. Even if the bonus structure changes, the employer should provide you with their current process. It is important to keep in mind that if you and your employer disagree about a contract term, the only way to resolve the disagreement is by judicial intervention, which can be extremely burdensome and costly.
#4: Restrictive Covenants
You should also review restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants include, but are not necessarily limited to non-compete, non-solicitation, confidentiality, or nondisclosure clauses. These provisions are used by employers to restrict employees during and after their employment to protect the employer, and often items, to the significant determent of the employee. It is absolutely imperative that you have an experienced employment attorney review a restrictive covenant before you sign it.
Reviewing an employment contract can be overwhelming. Contact our Birmingham employment law attorneys today at (205) 265-1880 to schedule a consultation!