Walnut Creek Employment Contract Lawyer
By default, California workers are normally considered “at-will” employees. This means that either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time without preconditions. In other words, your employer can fire you with or without a reason, and unless there is evidence of illegal discrimination or wrongful termination, there is nothing you can do about it.
But not all employees are at-will. The employer and employee may agree to an employment contract. Of course, most of these agreements are drafted by the employer with little or no meaningful input from the employee. Indeed, many employers never even bother to read their contract before signing on the dotted line.
Do not be one of these employees. The experienced Walnut Creek employment contract lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP, can assist you in all aspects of negotiating, reviewing, and enforcing a contract with a prospective, current, or former employer. We understand how employers often take advantage of their superior bargaining power to steamroll over the legal rights of employees. We can help you level the playing field.
What an Employment Agreement Can–and Cannot–Cover
A typical employment contract covers the basics of the employment relationship, including the type of employment–are you full-time or part time, salaried or hourly, et al.–and your specific duties for the employer. The contract will also specify the terms of compensation, including base pay, potential bonuses, paid vacation and leave, and so forth. The agreement can also modify the at-will nature of employment by requiring either side to give notice before terminating the relationship.
Employment agreements also usually contain certain restrictions on employee behavior. For example, a contract may state that any intellectual property created during your work for the employer will remain its exclusive intellectual property. Similarly, companies will often insist on a non-disclosure agreement as part of an overall employment contract to protect their IP and other trade secrets.
One thing that a California employment contract should not contain, however, is a non-compete agreement. Non-competes have been used historically to restrict where and when an employee can work after leaving an employer. Under California law, non-compete agreements are illegal and unenforceable except in very narrow circumstances. So if your employer asks you to sign a non-compete, that should be an immediate red flag and a signal to call a lawyer.
In addition to employment agreements signed before or during an employment relationship, we also assist clients with negotiating severance agreements. California does not require any employer to offer severance pay or severance packages. Still, many companies will offer some form of pay or compensation in exchange for certain post-employment promises from departing employees. Notably, employers want contractual assurances the employee will not sue them.
Unlike non-competes, severance agreements of this sort are generally legal and enforceable in court. So if you sign away your right to file an employment discrimination lawsuit, for example, you will be bound by that agreement. However, there are certain rights that cannot be waived through a severance agreement, including the right to bring a wage and hour claim against a former employer.
Contact Venardi Zurada, LLP, Today
As with any legal contract, an employment agreement is not something to be entered into without careful consideration. You should never feel pressured or compelled to sign an agreement without first consulting with a qualified Walnut Creek employment contracts lawyer. Contact Venardi Zurada, LLP, today to schedule a consultation.