Employment contracts, when used properly, can be a great tool for employers. However, when you draft one, it is your obligation as the employer to clearly explain all the employment terms prior to the employee signing it. If there are details missing or the contract contradicts applicable labor laws, you could increase the chances of potential lawsuits.
Hiring a West Palm Beach employment contract lawyer can help make sure your employment contracts are comprehensive and follow all federal and state employment laws. Here are several other reasons why hiring an attorney can help your business.
Inventions and Other Creative Efforts
It’s important to have a plan in place for how you will handle employees’ inventions and any other creative efforts during their employment. By claiming ownership of these inventions, you take an extra step to protect your own confidential information.
An experienced attorney can help draft a confidentiality clause that will stand up in court. Perhaps you want to protect certain pieces of information, like company processes or trade secrets, but you are unsure how to properly express that in a binding contract.
Terms of Termination
Some employers don’t have a clear idea of what they want their termination clauses to look like in an employment contract. Using a boilerplate template is not advisable since every company and position can differ. You also have to decide how much leeway you want in regard to terminating the contract.
In many cases, an employment contract allows both parties to terminate the contract at any given time and for any reason, provided there is a specific amount of notice. Do you want special clauses like ones that address situations where the employee can no longer perform their duties? Or perhaps you want a clause that allows you to fire someone with no advance notice if they violate the contract terms?
Non-Compete Clauses that Will be Enforced
One of the biggest areas employers find themselves in litigation over is a non-compete clause. Some employers include a non-compete clause that is too general or has too long of a term. Florida judges are not willing to enforce a non-compete clause that places unreasonable demands on the employee. For example, if you have a restaurant, you cannot draft a non-compete clause that demands the employee never work in the Florida restaurant industry ever again. Non-compete clauses should be restricted to a specific geographic area and only be enforceable for a reasonable amount of time after the employment period ends.
Do you plan to offer severance benefits? If you have no idea what the typical options would be, your lawyer can provide suggestions on what you might consider and what you will get in return. The severance agreement can be an entirely different document and treated like a release of all claims in the event an employee is terminated. An important aspect of a severance agreement is that the employee signs away their rights to sue the employer for any wrongdoing it may have committed.
If you need assistance with drafting an employee agreement, let the experienced team at Pincus & Currier LLP help. Contact our West Palm Beach office at 561-868-1340 to schedule a consultation.