Employment Contracts

Most employees today do not have a collective bargaining agreement or other written employment contract.

This generally benefits employers because they retain maximum discretion over all HR decisions, including termination of employment.

In some situations, however, employers may find that they benefit from written agreements with certain employees.
Employment agreements should be custom-tailored for each particular situation. We have extensive experience preparing employment agreements with ready access to an assortment of previous agreements, so that we do not start from scratch each time.

A few situations that may call for such employment agreements:

  • A highly sought-after employee with substantial bargaining power – such as a top executive or highly skilled professional with unique business contacts.
    • Such an employee may demand an employment contract to protect job security.
    • The employer may also wish to structure an employment agreement that would discourage the employee from leaving.
    • The employee may be negotiating with the assistance of an attorney.
    • For these reasons, it may be desirable for the employer to use legal counsel to negotiate and draft a written employment agreement.
  • An employee with access to important confidential information, trade secrets, and/or customers.
    • The employer’s business would suffer substantially if the employee disclosed such information and/or went to work for a competitor.
    • An employment agreement can protect the employer’s interests in confidentiality and restricting unfair competition after the employee leaves, without restricting its right to manage, discipline and terminate the employee.
    • State laws applicable to noncompete provisions in such agreements vary considerably, and without careful drafting their effectiveness may be greatly reduced, or they may even be completely unenforceable. Thus, experienced legal counsel is essential.
  • A worker or category of workers will be treated as independent contractors, rather than employees.
    • Independent contractor status is difficult to establish and maintain, and the stakes are high — the negative consequences of a determination by the IRS or a court that such workers are employees rather than independent contractors can be severe.
    • An independent contractor agreement carefully drafted with sound legal assistance is one essential element of a strategic plan for establishing and preserving independent contractor status.

How We Can Help

The attorneys of Harris Dowell Fisher & Harris, L.C., have drafted many employment agreements in these and other circumstances. We have ready access to an assortment of previous employment agreements, so we do not start from scratch each time.

Contact us to discuss how we may best assist you in this regard.

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