Don't Get Screwed: Employment Contracts and Young Professionals
I am often retained by young professionals to review their second employment contract. That is because most people do not focus on the details of their first employment contract until a problem develops. In some cases, those difficulties are so severe they limit other employment opportunities or turn into painful litigation.
You should pay careful attention to any agreement with an employer. This is an area of law that is driven not just by contract law, but a vast sea of federal, State and sometimes local laws that undermine our general understanding that we are free to contract as we wish. Employers usually have an attorney artfully creating the terms and conditions that will control you. You need legal counsel to truly understand the nuances involved.
In any event, make sure you read and fully understand the following key clauses:
Are you being hired “At-Will” or for a term of employment?
If you are being hired for a term of employment, for what Good Cause reasons can the employer fire you? Or looked at from your point of view, for what Good Reasons can you quit and still have a severance package?
Do you have a severance package?
How severe are the post-employment non-compete and other restrictive covenant provisions?
Will you be able to have any legal fight in court or is the company taking away your right to a jury trial?
There are, of course, many other important considerations involved in most employment contracts. At a minimum, ensure you are familiar with these key points. Better yet, hire an attorney, from your State, with extensive employment contract experience.