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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

What you should know before signing an employment contract

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Employment Law |

Now that life is becoming more relaxed and returning to a sense of normalcy, workers across the state of Florida are eager to seek new employment opportunities.

With any new job there usually comes an employment contract. You can learn a lot about a company in these contracts and you should always read them in full.

But besides reading the contract in full and acquiring a copy for your records, what other steps are necessary before signing on the dotted line?

The most important thing you should do before signing an employment contract is that you should look for specific language that will unfairly restrict you from certain actions in the future.

What are some examples of unfair restrictions an employer may include in an employment contract?

There are three main types of policies, that if included in your employment contract, you should take special care to read and fully understand. Those are arbitration policies, non-compete agreements and non-solicitation agreements.

Often these policies are normal and reasonable, but sometimes they can include some unfair restrictions that you should be wary of before signing.

  • Arbitration Agreement: An arbitration agreement simply prevents an employee from suing the company in civil court. Instead, lawsuits are settled in private arbitration which then does not go on the public record. Pretty reasonable, right?

Reasonable, yes. But, if you see language that requires you to pay the full cost of the arbitration or language that sets deadlines for filing complaints that are much shorter than what is required by law, these are examples of some unfair restrictions.

  • Non-Compete Agreement: Non-competes are pretty standard in all industries. You should spend extra care when reading this type of agreement.

Any non-compete that covers an unreasonable amount of time after leaving the company, like longer than a year, or covers geographic areas far outside of where the company conducts business, is a non-compete that severely restricts your future employment prospects.

  • Non-Solicitation Agreement: These agreements prevent you from stealing customers from your employer after you leave the company. If the non-solicitation agreement restricts you from soliciting customers that you knew before working for the company, this is another example of an unfair restriction.

Employment contracts can be filled with loads of legal language with which you are unfamiliar. If you have any concerns, consider having an experienced legal mind review the employment contract on your behalf.