In today’s competitive job market, employers have their choice among a broad range of qualified candidates when seeking to fill their positions. In order to ensure their employees are equipped to fill the demands of the job, many companies offer extensive training programs which require a serious investment of both time and money on the part of the employer.
Quite often, employees are required to sign employment agreement contacts, which laying out not only the compensation and benefits that will be provided, but also the expectations on the part of the employer. While an employment agreement can offer certain guarantees in terms of wages and job security, it can also restrict the employee’s freedom and prevent them from moving on with other companies. It is important for workers today to be familiar with the provisions that are often contained within employment agreements, as well as the potential effect that signing these agreements may have on their future.
The Advantages of Having an Employment Agreement
Florida, like many states, operates under the ‘employment at-will’ doctrine, which means that an employer has no obligation to retain workers and can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason at all, or even for no reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are three main exceptions to the employment at will doctrine: if the reason for the dismissal is against public policy, if the termination is made in bad faith or with malicious intent, or when there is an employment contract or agreement.
One of the main advantages of an employment contract is that it can provide job security. According to a 2013 Forbes article on employment agreements, key factors often covered by these agreement include:
- The length of employment and any at-will exclusions which provide specific grounds under which employment could be termination;
- Golden parachute provisions, which provide for an employee in the event they are terminated following a buy-out or merger;
- Compensation packages and benefits, which may guarantee raises, bonuses, and cost of living increases; and
- Equity grants, in which employees are guaranteed a percentage of stock or other equity on the company.
Before You Sign an Employment Agreement
While there are obvious advantages to have an employment agreement, there are also disadvantages. While any job is subject to Florida labor laws, employment contracts can place restrictions on employees, hindering an employee’s ability to work for other companies, both presently and in the future. Confidentiality agreements prevent employees from revealing trade secrets, company procedures, and client lists for specified periods of time, and provisions may be included in the employment contract which prevent an employee from working for a competitor or in a specified field.
Language in terms of job scope, compensation, and benefits should also be carefully reviewed to ensure there are no clauses or exceptions that could conceivably cost the employee money in the long run. An employment agreement can mean the difference between being content and well-paid in your chosen field, or it can be a burden, restricting and hindering you from advancement. Never sign an employment agreement without first speaking with a qualified and knowledgeable business law attorney.
Contact Our Experienced Clearwater Business Lawyer
Before signing an employment agreement or any kind of business contract, contact our experienced Florida employment agreement lawyer. At Clearwater Business Law, we can answer all your pre-employment questions, while helping you to ensure your legal rights and best interests are protected. With a focus on contract law and business dispute resolution, we provide the legal skill you need and the comprehensive client service you deserve. Serving the Clearwater and the surrounding areas, our contracts lawyers are prepared to help.