Employment Agreement Attorney in Nashville
A legally binding, written employment agreement is a contract that both you and your employee sign that determines the terms of your relationship. You’re not legally required to enter into an agreement with every employee you hire, but in general it’s a good idea to spell out some basic ground rules, especially if you’re a small business owner.
What’s In an Employment Agreement?
At the very least, a contract details what the employee is going to do for you (i.e., the job description) and what you are going to do for them (i.e., the salary and any associated benefits). Most employment contracts are much more comprehensive and can address any other aspect of your working relationship, including:
- The duration of the contract (i.e., renewed annually or biannually)
- Specifics about the employee’s tasks
- Benefits associated with the job, such as health insurance, disability, vacation, and paid days off
- Any grounds for termination
- Parameters for the employee’s ability to compete with your business once they move on to their next post
- Nondisclosure agreements outlining the protection of your trade secrets or customer information
- Transfer of ownership of the employee’s work products to the company
- Dispute and mediation terms
Another important consideration when drafting an employment agreement is whether or not you’ll include a clause stating that your employees are hired as “at-will” workers. Some contract writers design them to limit the employer’s ability to terminate the employee, unless they fulfill one of the grounds of termination or their contract term is up.
Some employers, however, prefer to insert an “at-will” clause, which states that an employee may quit or be fired at any time, for any legal reason. This stipulation can protect both the employer and the employer from a relationship that may be mutually disadvantageous. In other words, you won’t have to live out a contract term with an employee who doesn’t like working for you.
The Advantages of Employment Contracts
Employment agreements can be useful legal documents as they provide you with control over your employee’s ability to leave your business, except in the presence of an “at-will” clause. If you’re in a very specialized field that requires an extensive training and hiring process, an employment contract serves to protect your investment. You can word an agreement so that employees work a specific term (i.e., 1 year), or you may require them to provide adequate notice to find and train a replacement should they wish to leave their job.
Contracts are also beneficial to industries that work with sensitive client or customer information. Technology fields and the financial industry often deal in trade secrets, so an employee contract with non-disclosure or non-compete clauses is essential.
An employment agreement can also be beneficial for the employee. As a business, you’re in the position to extend legally-binding assurances to highly qualified candidates. If you can provide benefits to prospects in a written agreement, they may be more likely to come to your company instead of your competitors.
Lastly, an employment contract offers your small business some protection. Laying out specific terms for termination allows you to effectively fire employees who aren’t living up to your pre-outlined standards.
Getting Started With Your Employment Agreement
A written employment contract is a valuable asset to your business. Pre-written “agreements” do exist, but only an experienced business attorney can draft a contract that specifically speaks to your unique business needs. Trust the lawyers at Larry R. Williams, Attorneys at Law, with your employment contract issues. Schedule a free initial consultation, and one of our representatives will discuss your business structure and appropriate next steps. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us today.