Your employment agreement is one of the most important contracts in your life. It dictates critical information like your pay, schedule, responsibilities, and benefits. Whether you’re considering a new job or concerned about your current one, you should read the contract to ensure that it’s fair, equitable, and legally enforceable. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a tricky legal situation down the road. Here’s what to look for in your current or next employment agreement to make sure it’s worth signing.
Job Title, Duties, and Responsibilities
The most essential details to check in any job contract are those pertaining to your role. Even if you’ve discussed these details with the hiring team, you should double-check the agreement to ensure you understand what’s written down.
In many cases, a signed, written contract will supersede verbal agreements regarding your duties. If the employment contract lists any duties or responsibilities you verbally agreed won’t be necessary, you should request that the document be changed before you sign it. Otherwise, you may be required to do those tasks regardless of what was said during your interview.
Next, check the scheduling section of the document. This portion will explain what hours you’re expected to work and whether or not you’re eligible for overtime. All nonexempt workers should be eligible for overtime. The only exceptions are:
- Administrative workers
- “Professional” employees (people who earn a monthly salary equivalent to at least twice the state minimum wage or work in law, architecture, medicine, or similar recognized fields)
- Computer professionals
You should also confirm how many hours are required of you to understand exactly how much work you’ll be performing.
Salary and Benefits
Confirm contractual details about your wages. Be wary about jobs that rely on commission or bonuses for a significant amount of your compensation. Commissions depend on your ability to make sales, while bonuses can be offered or refused at the employer’s discretion. If the base salary isn’t enough for you to live on, consider negotiating a different compensation package.
You should also confirm if and how benefits are provided. In California, employers must provide full-time employees with benefits like health insurance and sick leave. If those details aren’t listed in your agreement, that’s a red flag.
Illegal or Unenforceable Clauses
Finally, you should always read your employment contract to check for illegal or unenforceable clauses. Examples of these clauses in California include:
- Non-solicitation and non-compete clauses
- Mandatory arbitration clauses
- Forum-selection or choice-of-law clauses
- Any clause requiring you to work without pay or otherwise give up your guaranteed rights under federal or state labor laws
If you find these illegal or unenforceable clauses in the agreement, it may be a sign that the employer is attempting to take advantage of you.
Ensure Your Employment Agreement Is Fair with AM+F, LLP
Whether you think your current employment contract may be unenforceable or you’re considering a new job offer, you should take the time to read through the agreement. You can contact the expert employment law attorneys at AM+F, LLP to discuss the contract. Our team of professionals can help you determine whether the contract is enforceable or if your rights are being violated.