By Tiffany Zanatta.
Congratulations! You’ve been offered your dream job. Why the long face?
Ah. Your new employer has sent you an employment contract, but you feel overwhelmed just thinking about it, let alone reading it – there’s a lot of information to take in. Should you just sign it? Maybe – but you’d be wise to have an employment lawyer review it first. Here are four reasons why:
- To confirm the contract reflects the deal you negotiated. Ideally, you and your soon-to-be employer reached a verbal agreement regarding your compensation, hours of work and the other terms of your employment. You want to make sure that agreement is accurately captured in writing.
- To understand your workplace rights and obligations – and those of your employer. What are your job responsibilities? Do you need to get approval before working overtime? Is there a delay before your benefits kick in? Are you eligible for a bonus? What are your vacation entitlements? And so on, and so on…
- To understand what happens if and when your employment relationship ends. While it may seem odd to think about this before you’ve even started your new job, it’s crucial to understand your rights and duties on termination before you sign on the dotted line. An employment lawyer can advise you on your severance rights under the contract and explain any restrictions your employer is placing on your future employment through non-solicitation or non-compete clauses.
- To make sense of the “legalese” and “boilerplate” language. Most contracts, employment or otherwise, include various “boilerplate” clauses with headings like “Entire Agreement”, “Severability” and “Governing Law”. These clauses – and others – often use legal “terms of art” that are very familiar to lawyers and judges, but can seem nonsensical to everyone else. Your employment lawyer can and should translate any contractual legalese into plain language for you.
When you receive an offer of employment, it’s natural to feel pressured to sign a contract – but it’s key that you understand your rights and responsibilities before you do. Chances are, your new employer is invested in the hiring process and bringing you onboard, and it’s more than reasonable for you to ask for an opportunity to review the document and get the legal advice you need so that both of you can enter your new relationship fully informed and on the same page.
Need your employment agreement reviewed? Contact us!