If you hire employees, you may need to document your relationships with contracts, handbooks, and policies. Without this basis for your relationship with employees, you can face bitter and expensive legal suits. Working with an employment contract lawyer can give your legal documents the polish they need to ensure you stay out of court and protect you and your employees in the workplace.
To avoid disputes and keep your business running smoothly, ensure that your contracts are tight and create clear expectations for you as an employer and your employees. Let’s look at some of the reasons to work with an employment contract lawyer.
Employment Contracts Provide Security
Contracts exist to keep communications clear and enforceable in relationships. If you choose to throw together online pdfs containing confusing legal jargon to use with your business, you may face legal complications you never expected.
Employers review their contracts with employees to consider their responsibilities and obligations to the employee. Employees look at their contracts to evaluate their behavior toward other employees and the business as a whole. Supervisors in your company look at contracts to determine how well an employee fulfills their role in the business.
Standard employment contracts include:
- Employment agreement for the hiring process
- Severance agreement or package for termination of an employee
- Enforceable non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, or non-solicitation provisions
The Hiring Process
As a company, you create certain expectations when you bring someone on board. The documents you provide set the tone for the future relationship. Employers use different documents to establish these expectations, including:
- Offer letters
- Employment agreements
- Employee handbooks
- Safety procedures
- Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies
- Summary of benefits
A well-thought-out hiring process will include documents that spell out the details of the employment relationship. They should address things like:
- Compensation: salary, bonuses, etc.
- Health benefits
- Vacation time
- Sick leave
- Non-compete clauses and non-solicitation of customers or other employees
- Non-disclosure provisions such as restrictions on sharing or using confidential information
- Employee grievance procedures: Laying out how an employee can bring concerns to upper management helps prevent lawsuits
If either party fails to meet expectations, your business is at risk of losing time and resources. The hiring contract is the basis of your relationship with an employee. Don’t leave those documents up to chance. Employment contract lawyers focus on keeping your contracts air-tight so that you don’t face legal headaches later on.
If you are in a business that holds information tightly to your chest, you need agreements with employees that leave no room for sliding out of requirements. Suppose you have a secret ingredient or trade secret, and an employee spills it online or to a competitor, causing you to lose business. In that case, a clear contract could make negotiations for a settlement favorable to your company. It could even lead a court to order the employee or competitor to stop using your information and pay for your attorney.
When it is time for a relationship with an employee to end, the process can be easy or incredibly challenging. No matter how the negotiations go, you want any agreements between the parties to be well-written and clear.
It is crucial to know precisely why you are letting an employee go. Common grounds for termination include:
- Failed to perform specific job duties
- Unexcused absences or tardiness
- Inability to get along with co-workers or supervisors
- Unreliable performance
- Reduction in workforce or elimination of a position
Once the decision has is made to terminate an employee, a severance agreement can bring certainty to the end of the employment relationship. A severance agreement often releases an employer from liability and defines the expectations following termination, including any separation payment or requirement to return company property.
Making Contracts Enforceable
Employment contracts work together to give your business security. A well-written contract forms the bedrock of your employee relationships. Relying on poorly written agreements contributes to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Just like in a marriage, when one party is dissatisfied, they both can suffer financial and emotional damage.
An employment contract lawyer understands how to protect your interests so that your role and the role of your employees is evident. When inevitable misunderstandings or bad behavior come into play, your attorney can help you document disciplinary actions, negotiate a severance, terminate an employee, and more based on the employment documents you put in place at the start.
Protect Yourself and Your Business
It’s crucial to know your rights when you own a business. Protecting yourself and your business from future lawsuits is part of hiring a new employee, working on non-compete agreements, and negotiating severance packages. It’s always best to ensure your contracts are well-written from the beginning to avoid future pain. Prevent needless expense for lawsuits from disgruntled employees to keep your business moving forward.
We Can Help
At Hill Law, we believe in setting your business up for success. Through well-written contracts with your employees, you encourage productivity, an environment of security, and a place to work where everyone knows the score. Business relationships thrive when employees and employers work together in harmony to accomplish the vision of the business. We want to help you achieve your business goals and work as a part of your productive team. Contact us today and find out how we can help your business stay secure and thrive in the future.