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Why you must be careful when signing an employment agreement

Getting offered a new job can make people feel very excited and eager to start a new chapter in their professional lives. With all this anticipation, it can be easy to want to do whatever you can to get through the hiring process and get started. However, before you get too far ahead of yourself, it can be wise to slow down, be thorough and avoid making any decisions that could come back to haunt you.

For instance, if you are asked to sign an employment agreement, it can be a mistake to just sign it without reading and understanding that document. In fact, it could wind up having a serious impact on your legal options down the road.

For instance, a woman filed a lawsuit after she was fired from her job on the basis that the company breached express and implied contracts and make fraudulent claims about the job in order to persuade her to work for them.

Essentially, the woman was hired on the basis that she would receive training and supervision for a new job that also required her to relocate from one state to another. However, she claims that she was not properly supervised and did not receive adequate training. After a few apparent "mishaps," the woman was fired. She filed suit holding the her former employer liable for conditions that led to her termination.

The courts sided with the employer after it was revealed that the woman had signed an agreement that specified her employment was at-will. Because she had acknowledged her status by signing the document, the woman was not entitled to any relief, financial or otherwise.

This case can and should be a strong reminder that reading employment agreements and making sure you understand them can save you a lot of time, money and energy later on. No matter what you are told or promised, many employment and wrongful termination disputes come down to signed or unsigned documents.

If you are in a position where you are supposed to sign a legal document for a current or prospective job, then you will want to think carefully and consider speaking with an attorney.

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