Should You Have a Lawyer Review Your Employment Contract?

When you get a new job, one of the first things you’ll be asked to do is sign an employment contract

This document outlines the terms of your employment, including your salary and benefits, work hours, termination provisions, permitted vacation days, and responsibilities.

Due to the excitement of landing a new opportunity, it is common for many new hires to rush to sign their employment contract without carefully reading it to understand its provisions.

Once you sign an employment contract, you must live up to its terms because it is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer. 

If you ensured that your rights were protected by the employment contract, you can sue your employer if they don’t adhere to the terms of the agreement. Your employer may also file a lawsuit against you if you breach the employment contract.

So, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly review your employment contract before you sign it to avoid agreeing to terms and conditions that make you uncomfortable or that can put you in legal trouble down the road. If possible, you should have an experienced contract lawyer or another trusted person with good knowledge of employment contracts evaluate it with you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of getting an attorney to look over your employment contract and how their knowledge can help safeguard your rights and interests.

3 Reasons Why You Should Have an Attorney Review Your Employment Contract

You benefit from having an attorney review your employment contract before you sign it in the following ways.

  • You Become Firmly Aware of What You’re Consenting To

As seasoned contract lawyers, the number of times we have heard clients who encountered legal challenges say, “I didn’t know that was in the contract” or “I didn’t think that is what they meant with that clause” are countless.

We don’t blame them for not knowing because most contracts, including employment contracts, are filled with legalese that can be hard for the average person to understand.

So, to avoid learning about unreasonable or unfair provisions in your employment contract when it’s too late, you should review it with an attorney before you sign.

An employment contract lawyer will walk you through your contract, explaining the legal jargon in each clause and its implications in simple terms, giving you a solid grasp of the terms and conditions stated in the agreement.

For example, if you signed your employment contract in a hurry, you might not be aware of ambiguous or poorly worded clauses that allow for misinterpretation or even your exploitation. Your lawyer can point these out to you during the employment contract review.

  • An Employment Contract Review Can Help You Negotiating More Favorable Terms

According to a survey on employment contract literacy, nearly 50% of respondents negotiated better terms, including more flexible working hours, remote work, start date, signing bonus, and better health and wellness benefits, with their potential employer after reading and understanding their employment contract.

The study also discovered that 63% of Americans polled had declined a job upon reading their employment contract.

If you find something unsatisfactory while reviewing your employment contract with your lawyer, you can also turn down a position or negotiate.

When evaluating your employment contract, an attorney will pay particular attention to the following:

  • Salary and benefits to ensure they’re fair based on your experience, education, title, duties, etc.
  • Work hours to make sure they’re reasonable and you’ll not be overworked.
  • Paid time off, which allows you to take a few days off work annually while still getting paid.
  • Termination clauses to confirm the company cannot terminate you for illegal reasons, such as your age, gender, or race.
  • Non-compete clauses to make sure your employer isn’t the only one who benefits from these.

Employment contract attorneys can quickly determine when your prospective employer isn’t offering you the best possible deal due to their experience reviewing hundreds of employment contracts. If they discover this to be the case, they can either advise on what you should demand during negotiations, or you can authorize them to negotiate on your behalf to secure a better deal.

Many job seekers eager to start a new position are often reluctant to negotiate their employment package because they fear they might lose an opportunity.

In our opinion, it is preferable to delay signing your employment contract so you can review or negotiate it than to later find yourself embroiled in an employment contract disagreement that could have been avoided with a little forethought.

Negotiations are also a common component of most contract processes, and you have a right to wait a few days before you sign your employment contract to discuss with an employer any issues that are important to you.

You should be concerned if an employer is putting pressure on you to sign promptly. 

  • You Guarantee the Protection of Your Rights and Interests

To draft employment contracts, which frequently favor them over their employees and serve to defend their interests, many businesses usually consult the best contract attorneys.

To level the playing field and protect your rights and interests, you should also retain legal counsel to look into your employment contract.

One of our client’s employment contract, for example, contained a hidden provision restricting their capacity to sue their employer in the event a work dispute arose, which we found while reviewing the contract. 

Fortunately, one of Gallagher Krich, APC, contract attorneys was able to modify the agreement such that her legal rights to file a claim against the employer were preserved.

In another case, the employment contract contained a non-compete clause, but it was silent on whether the client would get compensation for agreeing to the restriction. A non-compete clause limits an employee’s capacity to work in the same field or launch their own firm for a certain amount of time after their job term is over.

It’s not wise to accept a position in which you’re barred from working for an extended duration of time in a particular job industry after the end of your contract if the company doesn’t offer adequate compensation for that period.

Our attorneys were successful in convincing the client’s new employer to drop the non-compete clause from their contract because the client was a resident of California, and non-compete agreements are not enforceable in the state.

Gallagher Krich, APC: Experienced Employment Contract Attorneys

Have you been presented with an employment contract for a new job that you would want to have reviewed independently?

Call Gallagher Krich, APC at (858) 926-5797 or fill out our online contact form to book an appointment to discuss your employment contract.

Our attorneys have 30+ years of experience in contract law, and they can review your employment contract and clearly clarify all of its provisions, including how they’ll affect you as you work or at the end of the employment relationship and possible steps to take to make sure you are comfortable signing the contract. 

They can also negotiate, on your behalf, any job terms you object to, making sure you receive a fair and solid employment contract.

Get in touch with us today for a thorough evaluation of your employment contract or to find out what to watch out for before signing your contract!

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