Intellequity, is a business law firm located in Portland, Oregon that can draft or advise on your employment agreement. I am an experienced contract law attorney that can help you navigate the pitfalls of these documents and help minimize the risk that a misunderstanding between employer and employee will arise; a misunderstanding that could lead to needless and expensive litigation in the courts. Read below for more information on employment agreements and how Intellequity can help review, negotiate or draft yours.
What is an employment agreement?
Employment agreements outline the terms and conditions of employment, such as duties, responsibilities, expectations, payment and benefits.
This can include contracts for regular employees, as well as independent contractors and consultants. It is a legally binding document that outlines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties.
Key elements of an employment contract often include:
Position and Duties:
This specifies the job title, job description, and key responsibilities of the position. It sets out what is expected from the employee.
Duration of Employment:
Most employment is at-will, which means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the agreement at any time and for any reason (so long as it is not motivated by discrimination). If the job is not for an indefinite term, the contract will specify the start and end dates.
This sets forth the salary or wages to be paid, as well as any bonuses, commissions, or other benefits available.
This includes details such as working hours, potential overtime, breaks, and workweek schedule.
Company Policies & Procedures:
These are acknowledgments that the employee will abide by the employer's rules, code of conduct, and any other company policies.
The terms under which the employee or employer can terminate the contract are included, often specifying notice periods and any potential severance arrangements.
Confidentiality, Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete Provisions:
These prevent an employee from sharing the company's confidential information, from working with direct competitors after leaving the business, or from using specific skills and knowledge in a way that could harm the company's interests.
Agreements may specify how any disputes that arise will be resolved.
An employment agreement serves to protect both the employee and employer. As such, it's essential to review its contents carefully before signing to ensure understanding and agreement with all its provisions.
Why do I need a written employment agreement?
Having an employment agreement is essential for every business or employee, and it comes with several benefits:
Clarity and Structure:
Employment agreements provide clear expectations about the role, responsibilities, compensation, working hours, and other conditions of the job. This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and potential disputes in the future.
Protection from Legal Disputes:
Well-drafted employment agreements can help protect businesses from legal issues. They define the rights and obligations of both parties, reducing the risk of lawsuits related to wrongful termination, workplace discrimination, wage disputes, and more.
Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure:
Employment agreements often include clauses that protect sensitive business information. Employees usually agree to keep this information confidential during their employment and often for a period after leaving the company.
Non-compete clauses help prevent employees, for a certain period after their employment ends, from working for competitors or starting a similar business, protecting the enterprise's competitive advantage. However, these clauses should be drafted with care, as if they are over broad or too restrictive, the could end up having no effect under the law or in the courts.
Employment agreements can specify how to handle disputes, for example, through arbitration or mediation. This can make resolving conflicts less costly and time-consuming than going to court.
Employment agreements can set out conditions under which the employment relationship can be terminated, ensuring both parties are clear on the circumstances that could lead to the end of the employment.
By defining the terms of the employment relationship, an employment agreement benefits both the employee and the business. It's important that these agreements are drafted in accordance with applicable labor laws and that they balance the business's needs with the rights of the employee.
Why should I hire an attorney to create or review an employment agreement?
Hiring an attorney to draft an employment agreement comes with numerous benefits. Here is how Intellequity can help.
Experience and Expertise:
Intellequity understands legal jargon, employment laws, and best practices. I have experience in drafting contracts that are clear, comprehensive, and legally sound.
Intellequity can tailor an employment contract to meet your business's unique needs. I consider the specific position, industry standards, and your business’s policies and culture.
Employment laws vary greatly by location and business type. Intellequity can help ensure the agreement complies with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, including anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, and statutory benefits.
Protection from Disputes:
Intellequity can create an agreement that minimizes the likelihood of future disputes between the employer and employee. For instance, the contract could specify dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration, instead of the courts, thereby reducing litigation costs and time.
Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses:
Intellequity can craft robust confidentiality and non-compete clauses that protect your business interests without infringing on an employee’s rights.
Attorneys are trained to foresee potential issues and risks. I can propose clauses and additions to the contract that help reduce the risk your business might face down the line.