Many employees in New Jersey are at-will employees. An at-will employee can be fired at any time and for any legal reason and can quit their job at any time and for any reason. However, some employees in New Jersey work under employment contracts. An employment contract is an agreement between an employee and an employer that describes the rights and obligations of the employee. Such a contract can offer you job protection and enable you to secure favorable benefits that you would not otherwise secure. In New Jersey, both written and oral employment agreements are enforceable. However, it is advisable to put an employment agreement in writing. This article discusses some crucial things you should know about employment contracts.
Things That Should Be Included in an Employment Contract
Generally, an employment contract should outline what your employer expects from you and what you can expect from your employer. The following are some provisions to consider when negotiating an employment contract:
- Employment term
- Your duties
- Benefits you expect to receive, including disability, life, and health
- Accrual of leave days
- Reasons your employer can fire you
- Dispute resolution method
- Confidential information clause
- Severance pay
- Travel expenses
- Car allowance
- Progressive discipline
- Expense reimbursement
Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts
Many employment contracts include restrictive covenants. These provisions are for the employer’s and not the employee’s benefit. Restrictive covenants restrict an employee’s actions. Usually, these restrictions limit what an employee can do after leaving their employer. Examples of restrictive covenants include non-compete agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and non-solicitation agreements.
A non-compete agreement prohibits you from competing against your former employer. For example, this clause might state that you cannot work for a competitor within a specific region for a set period of time. A confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement prohibits you from disclosing a wide range of information from your former employer, such as formulas, trade secrets, pricing information, and customer lists. Non-solicitation agreements can prohibit you from doing business with your former employer’s customers. Non-solicitation agreements can also prevent you from asking your former colleagues to leave and join you at your new workplace.
Restrictive covenants can be complicated and confusing. They can also cause problems when you are ready to move to another employer. It is crucial that before you sign an employment contract, you ensure you understand and agree with these restrictions. Sometimes, it is possible to negotiate better terms or even remove problematic provisions. Sometimes, it is even better not to accept a job if it will make it impossible or extremely hard to get another job in the future.
Severance pay is money employers pay some employees after their employment ends. Severance pay is meant to soften the blow of losing your job. While practices and policies vary among employers, often employers pay severance pay only to employees who have been terminated or laid off. Some employers also give severance pay to employees after they retire or resign for specific reasons. It is a good idea to consider negotiating to include severance pay in your employment contract.
Contact Us for Legal Help
Our New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm can help you negotiate a favorable employment contract. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.