Beginning a new phase in your career is an exciting time. But prior to your first day, your signature is needed on a number of documents. Arguably the most important is your employment contract. While the document could be a simple page laid out in an easily digestible way, other contracts are lengthy and intimidating.
Contracts are often filled with vague and confusing legal terminology. Before signing anything, it’s beneficial to have a lawyer look over your employment contract. This way, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what you’re agreeing to and, if necessary, you’ll be able to tactfully negotiate terms.
Aspects of an Employment Contract to Review
When it comes time to review a contract for the first time, having a lawyer by your side will ensure you understand every word. The areas of interest to look at particularly closely include the following:
- Job Description. Having a complete understanding of your job description prevents issues in the future. When you know what’s expected of you, you won’t feel overloaded or misled. Often times, job descriptions are vague, but a lawyer can help you obtain a detailed account of what your position will entail.
- Terms. The terms in your contract include elements like identification, effective date, the type of employment, the extent of services, termination circumstances, notices, severability, and the dispute process. If any of those words seem foreign to you, your attorney can explain what they mean and how they apply to your position.
- Restrictive Covenants. Depending on the industry, your employer could include a restrictive covenant in your contract as a means of protection for them. Noncomplete, nonsolicitation, confidentiality, or nondisclosure clauses could be included. Noncomplete clauses are typically the most important because they affect an employee’s ability to start their own business in the same industry after their employment ends.
- Compensation. The portion of your contract that discusses compensation will likely include more than just information on your payments of salary. It could include details about bonus structures or profit-sharing plans.
If you believe there is a need to negotiate or change your employment contract, there’s no set etiquette for how to proceed. How the conversation goes will depend on factors like the level of the job and the relationship you’ve established with the employer. While every lawyer approaches agreements differently, the advice they give you will ensure the contract you sign is fair.
Choosing a Lawyer to Look Over Your Employment Contract
As a potential employee, it’s understandable to be wary about bringing a lawyer into the mix when it comes time to sign your contract. You may be worried about appearing aggressive or difficult by consulting a lawyer. With some employees, however, there’s an expectation that an attorney will assist with negotiations. Even if that’s not the expectation, it’s important to remember your future is on the line. If there’s anything in the contract that could affect your future negatively, terms need to be discussed.
Choosing a lawyer can seem like a daunting task, but at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we have extensive experience reviewing employment contracts for various industries. When we review your contract, we’ll be sure to represent your best interests.
Reading the contract from front to back is a good idea initially, but breaking it down section by section is the only way to completely understand what it entails. We’ll be sure to examine every facet for holes or ambiguous language. You’ll know what’s expected of you, and what you can expect from your employer.
If noncompete agreements or insurance is involved, we’ll be just as thorough with those elements. We recognize that noncompete agreements can cause problems for individuals who leave a job to pursue their own interests. You’ll have a solid understanding of what the conditions are of the agreement, so you can take control of your future and change directions when you’re ready.
Work with a Lawyer You Can Trust
If you have questions about your employment contract, contact us before you sign. Not only can we explain the legal terms in a more easily understandable manner, but we’ll review the document and make sure it’s beneficial for you and your relationship with your future employer.
Accepting a new job is a big step for anyone. Jeopardizing your future by signing a contract without fully comprehending it could make your life harder than it needs to be. For more information on the benefits of having a lawyer look over your contract, contact us today.