Before you commence a new position, your employer may ask you to sign a written employment contract.
A written employment contract is a legally binding document signed between you and your employer setting forth the terms of the relationship. Employment contracts can be highly beneficial for defining the nature of the employment contract, and setting out clear guidelines for you to follow as a new employee. Increasingly, employers are creating employment contracts to control the nature of the employment relationship, and to avoid severance liabilities. If executed properly, your employment contract will override greater severance rights and you will only be entitled to the terms of the employment contract. That being said, you cannot contract out of your statutory minimums which is a relatively small amount of termination pay or severance pay. Additionally, you must freely, voluntarily, and fully consent to the terms of the employment contract for the contract to be enforceable.
Written employment agreements can cover important areas such as:
- Compensation and benefits (such as health insurance, disability, dental, vacation etc.)
- Duration of employment
- Grounds for termination
- Incorporation of employment policies
- Non-solicitation and no-compete clauses
- Procedures for resolving workplace disputes
- Intellectual property ownership
Employment contracts can be updated and revised throughout your employment. Anytime your employer asks you to sign a new employment contract after the commencement of your employment, it is essential that your new employment contract contain additional consideration. This means that the new employment contract must include an additional betterment for you, such as an increase in vacation, a bonus, a promotion etc.
Most employment contracts are unenforceable in whole or in part, and we will advise you of that.
Why choose an employment lawyer at Levitt LLP?
Employment contracts can be intimidating and unnerving. Especially for lengthy employment contracts, certain provisions (such as termination provisions) can be complicated and difficult to understand.
You should not be pressured to sign any employment contract before consulting with an employment lawyer. You have the right to negotiate the terms of your employment contract and we can help. Before signing the employment contract you’re being offered, ask one of our employment lawyers to review it. Our employment lawyers will provide you with advice on ways to maximize your compensation and benefits package, while identifying hidden legal risks and helping you to negotiate terms that are as favourable as possible.
When it comes to negotiating general employment contracts, as well as executive employment contracts with unique terms and conditions (such as enforceable non-compete and non-solicitation restrictive covenants), no one understands the issues better than our employment lawyers do. Let our employment lawyers work with you to ensure that your employment contract is fair.
Each situation is unique; so schedule a consultation today with one of our employment lawyers in Toronto, the GTA or across Canada to learn about your options.
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