Employment Contract Attorneys in Dallas, TX
Texas is a right-to-work state in which an employer can fire an employee for almost any reason, or an employee can quit at any time for any reason. However, some employees and employers negotiate for more concrete working terms in employment contracts.
If you are an employee, an employment agreement can provide more job security and predictability, but you will likely have to waive several rights in exchange. And an employment contract presents a business owner with an avenue to have more control over their business and the investments they have made in their workforce. An employment agreement can have far-reaching effects on your professional and personal life, so it is best to have a Dallas employment agreement attorney advise you in the negotiation process, review the terms of any contract you receive, and advocate for you during any contract dispute. At The Hunnicutt Law Group, we can provide you with the top-level employment law guidance that many big firms impart, and we can do it for a fraction of big firm prices.
What Does an Employment Contract Include?
What goes into an employment contract is up to you and your employer. And in many cases, your employer is going to have more bargaining power over the terms of your agreement than you are. Hiring an employment contracts lawyer to negotiate or review your contract can even the playing field between you and a new boss. Although every contract is different, the following clauses appear in many employment agreements.
If you are signing an employment agreement that is specific to you (and not the standard agreement given to all employees), it should state the rate of pay you will receive for your work. If your employer runs incentive programs or pays bonuses for performance, your agreement should also give details about when you are eligible to receive incentives or bonuses and how to qualify for them.
Description of Benefits
Many employers retain their workforce by offering a number of benefits, including life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, stock options, and retirement plans. Whatever benefits your employer provides, your contract should include an explanation of each benefit and the terms for eligibility. A requirement that you remain an employee for 90 days before receiving benefits is typical to many contracts. The 90-day period is often the maximum amount of time your employer can make you wait before you are allowed to enroll in many benefit plans.
Vacation and Leave Terms
If your employer has more than 50 employees, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires it to give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a year to address certain serious life events. The FMLA requires 26 weeks of unpaid leave for handling military-related medical conditions.
Aside from FMLA leave, other types of leave that an employer provides are voluntary. You might receive vacation or sick leave at your new job. Your agreement should explain the following:
- Whether your vacation and sick leave are paid;
- How you earn leave;
- Whether leave hours roll over each period;
- When you become eligible to take leave; and
- Whether you can cash out your leave between periods or when your job ends.
Making these leave policies clear helps ensure you can make the most out of your employment experience and avoid wage theft disputes.
Performance and Duration Expectations
Even with an employment contract, some employers reserve the right to keep your position as an at-will position. Other employers use agreements to make the duration of your employment a set period of time.
If you have a contract that agrees to employ you for a set period of time, it should explicitly state what behavior could leave you subject to termination. If an employee has an agreement that lists the misconduct that subjects them to termination and they are fired for other reasons, that employee might have grounds to sue their employer for breach of contract. Have your employment agreements lawyer review any contract you receive to make sure that the terms are clear.
Confidentiality and Non-compete Terms
Employers invest time and money in developing their business practices, products, and workforce. To protect their investments, many business owners require their workers to sign confidentiality and non-compete agreements.
Confidentiality agreements may prohibit an employee from sharing the identity of clientele, methods for creating the employer’s products, or disparaging remarks about the employer. And a non-compete agreement can prevent a former employee from starting a business or working for another employer in the same industry. A non-compete agreement must have reasonable limitations to be enforceable. Whether a contract is enforceable or not, an employee and employer can find themselves in contentious litigation if they do not see eye to eye on the terms of an employment contract.
Getting fired can be traumatic. Sometimes, an employer can soften the blow of a job termination by entering a severance agreement with its employee. A severance contract typically includes an employer’s promise to pay a departing employee a lump sum in exchange for the employee’s agreement to waive many of their rights.
Severance waivers might include a waiver of benefits like workers’ compensation and the option to sue an employer for negligent conduct. If you have retirement benefits, your severance agreement should clearly state whether your rights to your benefits have vested. Whatever severance package you and your employer agree to must be in writing to be enforceable in Texas.
Hiring an Attorney Is Important
If you are negotiating an employment contract or reviewing the contractual terms of a new job, you should hire an experienced employment attorney to advise you. Your attorney can help make sure the terms of any agreement you enter are fair and easy to understand. And if an employer hands you an unreasonable agreement, your attorney can advise you on how to protect yourself and whether the terms are an indication of an unethical employer.
Speak to The Hunnicutt Law Group for Help
If you need a Dallas employment contracts attorney, you can rely on our skilled lawyers. At The Hunnicutt Law Group, we have over 30 years of experience helping workers and businesses resolve legal disputes and avoid litigation. If you need help, call us at 214-361-6740 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.