Your relationship with your employer isn’t the same as one with family or friends. However impersonal it might be, employment lawyers would argue it still holds one important advantage. An employer-employee relationship usually starts with a clear understanding of each other’s expectations. It is usually written as a binding agreement known as an employment contract.
Employment Lawyers Share the Keys to a Successful Employment Contract
It is important to know the key elements of an employment contract. Every employee should read it very carefully to make sure both sides benefit from the agreement. Employment lawyers or other labor law attorneys can help if the language is too hard to read. Here are some of the key elements that an employment contract typically contains:
1. Definition of the Position
A contract should clearly define all job requirements and duties essential to the position. It should also include the location and hours of employment. Make sure that the contract clearly defines all employee expectations, as well as the expectations of the employer.
2. Length of Agreement
A contract should clearly spell out the length and term of the agreement. It should include an original date of appointment, and the date of the end of the contract if needed. It should also include conditions for the employee or employer to extend, reduce, or terminate the contract.
3. Performance: Held to High Standards
Contracts should clearly define all primary and secondary performance goals. Primary performance goals are considered essential to your job. Secondary performance goals are those that involve added commissions or bonuses, for example. Contracts should cover all measurable performance standards that employees will need to meet. These might include things like production goals, volume expectations, or quotas. Employers should also include any other measurements they’ll use for holding employees accountable.
4. Compensation: The Employee’s Take
Of course, employment lawyers would say that a contract is not complete without discussing compensation. After base wages, a contract should outline policies about overtime or under time. If there any commissions, bonuses, or incentive programs, a contract should outline these as well. There should also be language about how the termination of a contract affects unpaid wages, and any other compensation programs that employers may offer.
5. Benefits: Everything Else an Employee Gets
Contracts should also include any additional benefit packages or insurance. Employment lawyers also agree that if an employee needs any licenses, or will be required to pay dues or memberships for employment, it should be included in the contract as well. The contract should clearly state who pays, and whether licensing or membership is handled by the employer or employee.
6. Termination: the End of the Relationship
Finally, any contract should detail what happens at the end of the contract. Employment lawyers believe that termination clauses should include scenarios for termination “with cause” and “without cause.” Contracts should also include any severance packages. They should also discuss how wages, commissions, bonuses, and other compensation will be handled in the event of a contract termination.
Other Elements for Employment Lawyers
Employment lawyers and labor employment attorneys also have pointed out other miscellaneous language a contract may include, such as:
Employees promise to treat specific information as a trade secret. They promise not to disclose the secret to others without proper authorization.
Employees agree not to solicit a company’s clients or customers after leaving the company, for his or her own benefit, or for the benefit of a competitor.
Employees agree not to ask a company’s employees to join his own company or join a competitor after they leave the company.
Employees agree not to work for or start a similar business that will compete against their former employer.
Property Rights Clauses: Whose Is It?
Employees produce goods such as research notes, program code, art work, or other products as a result of their employment. Clauses like these determine who owns this property.
Employment Lawyers Understand Complex Contracts
Employment contracts are complex documents. They require a sharp mind to fully grasp and understand. An employment lawyer or other employment law attorney can help employees understand the various clauses of an employment agreement. A full understanding the terms of your employment protects you and your employer. Most of all, avoiding misunderstandings ensures a long-lasting and beneficial relationship for everyone.
Workplace discrimination brings down the morale of all employees. Even if you’re not the target of discriminatory behavior, it can affect the overall atmosphere in any job setting. Discrimination is defined as unfairly treating a person or group of people differently. In practice, discrimination can be many things. A good discrimination lawyer can outline a long list of behaviors that constitute workplace harassment. It can be harder for an individual to identify discrimination in practice, and do something about it. Here are some tips that employees can use to help protect themselves and their co-workers against unfair discrimination:
Respect Racial and Cultural Differences
People aren’t identical. It’s important to accept people’s differences and work together as a team. Respecting cultural differences doesn’t require an in-depth study of every race and culture on the planet. It simply means that everyone should be treated as an individual human being, first and foremost.
Be Professional in Speech and Conduct
It’s important to address coworkers in a respectful manner, and always wise to think before you speak. It’s also helpful to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Being mindful of other people’s feelings, and remaining courteous at all times, will minimize the chance of causing a hostile work environment.
Let Calmer Heads Prevail
If you think that something you’re about to say or do might be hurtful towards another employee, then you should stop before you start. Especially when emotions run high, making insinuations or continuing to argue will only make things worse. Usually, the best move you can make is to simply walk away and allow yourself to calm down before continuing. Likewise, if you notice a co-worker getting upset, it’s best to suggest that they remove themselves from the confrontation until they’ve cooled off.
Avoid Culturally Offensive Humor
Everyone has heard a co-worker crack a joke at the expense of someone else. Most people consider good natured ribbing as a form of bonding between employees, but it can easily turn into a form of shunning and shaming. This inevitably leads to issues of a hostile work environment, and invites workplace retaliation. When in doubt, it’s usually best to leave pranks and jokes for outside the workplace.
Know Your Company Policies
You can empower yourself by knowing how the company handles workplace discrimination. If you know the correct procedure for reporting discrimination in their workplace, you’re more likely to make a positive difference. Knowing the ground rules can help you, and others, too. For example, if you see something that looks like gender discrimination, you can instruct the victim on the proper way to file a complaint.
Learn Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities
It’s easier than ever to find out information about discrimination. A quick search on the internet for examples of discrimination delivers a wealth of examples on discrimination and harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also has excellent information about workplace discrimination and employee rights.
Being pro-active is important to help stop workplace discrimination. The first step in combating workplace discrimination is identifying it and reporting it. Report incidents of inappropriate, discriminatory, harassing or abusive behavior to your supervisor. If your immediate manager can’t help, try sending a message to the Human Resources Department. Workers in unions find it especially useful to speak to a union representative.
If you’ve tried to resolve the situation on your own without success, don’t give up. then it may be time to speak to an employee rights lawyer. In the Los Angeles Area, call the Law Offices of Cathe L. Caraway-Howard. She and her legal team have had overwhelming success in taking on cases of workplace discrimination, gender discrimination, and other issues of civil rights and labor law.