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Employment Agreements

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As with any relationship, it is important to be clear about duties, expectations and obligations at the beginning of an employment relationship.

One problem that comes up often is not being clear whether you have an enforceable employment contract. The situation usually goes like this: a job offer is communicated by mail or email, the new employee accepts what he or she believes to be an employment agreement, the new employee moves across the country, with or without his/her family incurring expense and disruption, only to begin a new job and be fired within a few months. If the communication had been reviewed by a lawyer such as Irwin Venick, the new employee would have a clear understanding what to expect in his or her new job.

Another problem that comes up often is that a new employee comes reports to work and is given a stack of papers to sign the first day of work. Among the stack of papers (or part of the employee handbook) is an agreement called a “covenant not to compete” which can be used by the company if the employee is later terminated from doing similar work within a certain geographic area. If the document had been reviewed by a lawyer such as Irwin Venick, the new employee would be able to make an informed decision whether to sign the covenant not to compete. Other documents such as confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements may raise other legal concerns.

Finally, there may be issues about compensation, bonuses, stock options and other benefits that may be complex and sometimes difficult to understand.

The best protection against future problems is to have documents you are required to sign by your new employer reviewed by a lawyer such as Irwin Venick, especially documents such as covenants not to compete.

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