Many employees are hired on an at-will basis. However, some employers use employment agreements that bind the employee and the employer to the terms of the agreement. Employment agreements outline the terms of an employee’s job, salary, benefits, and other essential terms.
Discuss Your Employment Agreement Matter with a Skilled Attorney
At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, our attorneys have extensive experience drafting, negotiating, and enforcing employment agreements in a wide range of industries. We have represented employees and employers and have litigated many different disputes related to employment agreements. Contact us to learn more about how to provide you with the excellent legal representation you deserve in your employment agreement matter.
Protecting Your Interests and Avoiding Liability
At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, we understand how important employment agreements are for employees and employers. We have handled many types of employment agreement cases throughout Pittsburgh. When we represent clients in these cases, our ultimate goal is to ensure that their employment agreement is legally enforceable and includes all the necessary legal terminology.
We will also ensure that the policies outlined in the employment agreement comply with local, state, and federal employment laws. When drafting an employment contract, we will consider the family leave, wage and hour, discrimination, and occupational safety laws and regulations that govern our clients. Our team of attorneys will eliminate any language that unintentionally creates obligations on your behalf. We can also help you evaluate an employment agreement for any red flags that could create liability down the road.
Negotiating Employment Agreements
Whether you are an employer or an employee, an attorney can help you negotiate an employment contract and explain all of the potential ramifications of the proposed contract’s terms. All of the following terms of employment that are typically included in an employment agreement can be negotiated:
- Compensation, including salary and bonuses
- Benefits, including stock options, health plans, paid vacation, retirement, and sick leave
- Restrictions on the ability of the employee to work for competitors in the future
- Grounds for termination and severance package
- Duration of employment
- Confidentiality clauses
- Grounds for termination
- Terms for severance packages
- The duration of the employment
- Ownership of the employee’s work product
- Intellectual property
- Relocation costs, vehicles, and housing
Non-Competition Employment Agreements
Non-competition agreements, also called non-compete agreements, are agreements between an employee and employer that prohibit the employee from competing with the employer. Typically these agreements prohibit an employee from entering into employment with a competitor during or after the employment relationship.
Non-competition agreements typically prohibit employees from soliciting other customers or employees after the termination of the employment relationship. These agreements can be included as a provision in a comprehensive employment contract or as stand-alone documents. They can also be included as part of a severance package.
Severance agreements compensate a department employee in exchange for an agreement by the employee to refrain from suing the employer. Employers are not required to offer severance agreements unless a previous contract requires a severance package. However, many employers benefit from offering a severance package to limit potential liability down the road.
If you are an employer, using severance agreements can protect you from employment lawsuits in the future as long as the agreement has been well-drafted and reviewed by an attorney. For employees, it’s important to consult with an attorney before signing a severance agreement.
Breach of an Employment Contract
The employee and employer must abide by the terms of a signed contract. When one party violates the terms of the contract, it’s called a breach of contract. The employer may breach the contract by not fulfilling their obligations under the contract, such as failure to pay the employee a benefit specified in the contract. In other cases, an employer may terminate employment before the duration of the contract without justification. Conversely, an employee may violate the terms of the employment contract by sharing confidential information or doing after-hour work with an employer’s competitor.
When one party breaches the contract, he or she can pursue damages through a breach of contract lawsuit. Some employment contracts require arbitration or mediation when a dispute arises. If you’re involved in a breach of contract dispute, one of our skilled attorneys can help you understand your legal options. We can help you negotiate a settlement, or, when necessary, represent you in court.
Discuss Your Employment Agreements With an Attorney Before Signing
An employment agreement or contract is legally binding for both parties who sign the agreement. For example, if an employee receives an employment contract or offer letter and signs it, the employee is bound by the contract terms. Signing an unfavorable contract can lock an employee into a situation with problematic terms and poor compensation. The contract may even restrict the employee’s future opportunities.
Similarly, an employee may be offered a renewal contract when she receives a promotion. The new contract could impose more burdensome terms on the employee. Employees mustn’t sign an employment agreement without careful review. Often, employees don’t realize that they can negotiate the terms of their agreements. An offer of employment is only an offer, and the terms of the final employment contract can be negotiated. Working with an experienced employment law attorney with an in-depth understanding of employment law who can help you ensure that you understand your obligations and benefits.
Contact an Employment Agreement Attorney Today
Employment agreements can be negotiated to protect your interests. Working with an attorney can help you ensure that you understand the obligations and benefits outlined in the contract before you sign it. An attorney can hold the party accountable when one party breaches an employment agreement. Contact the Pittsburgh business attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace today to discuss how to help you with your employment agreement matter.