employment lawyersYour 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:

Non-Disclosure Language:

Employees promise to treat specific information as a trade secret. They promise not to disclose the secret to others without proper authorization.

Non-Solicitation Periods:

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.

Non-Recruit Agreements:

Employees agree not to ask a company’s employees to join his own company or join a competitor after they leave the company.

Non-Compete Clauses:

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.

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