Employment Contract Building
Contracts are the Blueprints to Success
A contract is the most important document in any business relationship. It is the key to a good employment relationship because it will outline everything of importance to both executive and employer.
A good contract protects both the employee and the employer. It is the blueprint to your working relationship which clearly outlines:
- What the employee receives
- What the employee gives
- What the employee can do if they are dissatisfied or involved in a dispute
- Protect and preserve the employees rights
- What will happen if/when the employment ends
Regardless of whether you are an employer, executive or contract employee, the contract is the key to a successful relationship.
Making a Contract
When making a contract there may be contractual negotiation. It is certainly possible that the other party is suggesting a fair contract, but it is always important to review a contract and make sure that you agree to what you will be signing. The contract should take into account what each party is hoping to achieve. If there is some dispute, then the parties must negotiate.
Negotiation is a skill – particularly in employment matters. You do not want to chance giving up your rights in order to achieve a short-term goal. If you have to negotiate a contract always consult with an expert in employment law. You do not want to accidentally make a costly legal mistake in such an important document if it can be at all avoided.
It is vital to ensure that the contract that is produced and signed fairly and accurately reflects the terms both parties have agreed on. It is important to remember that a contract is an agreement and the foundation of your working relationship. The goal is not to stymie the other party or get one over on them, the goal is to make sure that your rights are preserved and what you are required to do and to receive are clearly outlined. A contract is your safety net when dealing with one another. It provides boundaries and obligations. It is your protection and your guarantee. That is the result of a successful contract.
Contracts can contain many clauses and sections. For employment contracts, some areas that should be paid special attention to in order to make sure the contract protects their interests are the following:
- Non-Competition and Non-Solicitation
- Protection of Confidential Information
- Dispute resolution
Most importantly: you should never sign a contract until you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Review your contract carefully, where necessary have your lawyer negotiate changes, but do not sign a contract thinking that you can argue it later. Once signed a contract is proof of your agreement. The law is not kind to people who plead ignorance after the fact. However, you cannot contract out of provincial or federal legislation dealing with certain employment standards.
Interpreting an Existing Contract
However, people do sign contracts all the time without getting legal advice. Many such contracts contain sneaky clauses that sound innocuous but actually weaken the other party’s position. There may also be clauses that are written relatively ambiguously.
When a situation arises, where one party is seemingly in breach of contract or one party has a problem with the contract, that’s when interpretation becomes key. For that, you need an experienced labour lawyer. If the situation is severe enough there may need to be extensive negotiation sessions or even litigation. It all depends on the circumstances. These circumstances will include what is actually written in the signed contract. The contract remains the guideline for determining what can be done. That is why a clear, well-written contract is so important.