Negotiating an Employment Agreement

March 30, 2018
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Employment agreements can benefit both the company and the executive by setting the tone for a professional relationship and clearly establishing the expectations that the company has of its executives. Employment contracts can and should be comprehensive and detailed enough to address the key issues that determine how an executive works for an organization. The agreements should impose both rights and obligations on the company and on the executive, and the contracts should be clearly written so they can be easily interpreted in case a disagreement arises.

Of course, like any contract, an employment agreement is only as good as the parties to the agreement make it. If a contract isn’t comprehensive enough to address key issues, doesn’t include clauses that one or both of the parties care about, is unenforceable because it’s illegal or against public policy, or is written so poorly that no one knows what it means, then the contract is useless.

To make sure your employment agreement provides you with the protections and security you deserve, is enforceable, and establishes the key parameters of your employment relationship in a clear and understandable way, you should work with Baltimore employment lawyers.

Employment attorneys can help to negotiate the terms of the contract on your behalf so it protects your interests and can help you to ensure a contract you enter into is enforceable. To find out more about how an attorney can help, give us a call today.

Four Rules for Negotiating the Employment Agreement

While there’s no substitute for legal advice and a lawyer should be involved when an employment agreement is negotiated, there are a few basic rules that you can learn to help you get started during the negotiation process. Four key rules of the road for negotiating an employment agreement include the following:

  • Address the basics first: The first key things to negotiate in an employment agreement are the basic threshold provisions. This includes the term of employment, the specifics of the position, the compensation to be paid, any prerequisites that must be fulfilled as a condition of the executive starting work, and any benefits that the executive is entitled to receive.
  • Include provisions on termination and severance: The employment contract should set forth a process to follow for termination so both the company and the executive are on the same page. The contract should also include details on when the executive will be entitled to severance and how it is calculated. You don’t want to try to address this contentious issue at a time when an executive is leaving a job and there may be resentment about the departure – it’s best if everyone knows up front what to expect.
  • Know the rules for restrictive covenants: Non-disclosure and non-compete agreements are common and often necessary to protect the interests of the company, but there are restrictions on when and where these covenants are enforceable because a non-compete cannot serve as an unlawful restraint on trade that makes it impossible for an executive to earn a living after departing. The more narrowly-tailored an agreement is in time, place and scope, the greater the chances it will be enforceable.
  • Include details on dispute resolution: When conflicts arise, it’s best for all parties if there’s a clear process to resolve them. Include details on whether mediation or arbitration will be used to resolve conflict and specify the specific procedures that will take place when a dispute arises.

Baltimore employment lawyers can help to negotiate an employment agreement, can review a contract before you sign it, or can provide assistance if a problem arises between the company and an executive when a contract exists to govern their relationship. To find out more about how an attorney can help, give us a call. Call The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. at 410-514-6099 or contact us online today.