You may have been asked to sign an employment contract before starting a new job. Many people who are asked to sign such agreements skim them and assume that they are standard. You may be an employer who regularly asks employees to sign employment agreements, but you aren’t sure what provisions should be included in an employment contract. In either case, you should consult with a qualified employment attorney for help.

If you sign an employment agreement without any legal advice, you may not be aware of issues that could arise later. There could be provisions that are standard and would help you in the event you were to be fired or laid off, but they may not be included. Some of the conditions contained in the agreement could be bad for you, and if you consult an attorney he or she can help you negotiate those clauses before beginning work. Although the contract may appear straightforward, it’s usually best to run it by an attorney.

Most employment agreements contain some standard clauses. One important clause to employers is confidentiality. An employer may require an employee not share private information about the employer’s business, which could be a variety of things. The confidentiality agreement may allow the employer to sue the employee for damages if he or she tells secrets. For example, many Hollywood stars ask their personal assistants to sign confidentiality agreements, and the person in charge of a secret recipe is probably under a confidentiality agreement.

Many employment agreements also contain non-competition clauses. The agreement may say that an employee can’t be employed by a competing business for a certain period of time after the employment ends. The employee may also not set up a competing business for a certain amount of time. However, most courts in California will not enforce these clauses.

An employment agreement will often contain a section on termination. This will tell under what circumstances the employer can fire the employee, which could be for any reason or for a list of reason. The employer may also be required to give the employee a certain amount of notice, and the employee may be required to give notice before quitting.

Finally, the employment contract will contain provisions about what are probably the most important items to the employee – salary, benefits, vacation leave and sick leave. It’s important that these items be correct in the agreement.

Although you may be eager to start a new job, don’t sign an employment agreement without consulting with an employment attorney. A quick consultation could save you a lot of trouble later on with your employer. Also, if you believe your employment agreement has been violated, an employment attorney can help. Finally, an employment attorney can also help draft employment agreements for employers.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employment contracts should be carefully drafted in order to help avoid problems later. Call Micha Star Liberty if you are in the Oakland-San Francisco area and you need an employment attorney’s advice with an employment contract. Call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 to learn more about how she can help.

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