When you receive a job offer, an employment contract comes with it. You review the benefits, including the salary and insurance, and assume that the terms are fair and accurate. But you can’t make assumptions with any business document because a breach of contract could land you in court. And claiming that you don’t remember the rules is not going to get you your job back — even with a lawyer in tow. So today we’re going to give you the skinny on what to look out for.
Check for details that prohibit you from making certain actions or participating in certain activities. Identify the words and phrases that indicate restrictions or prohibitions, such as "not permitted" or "restrict access."
Non-disclosure agreements require you to keep certain company information confidential. Some contracts do not allow you to work for certain companies during or shortly after your employment.
Many people contact wrongful termination lawyers after they break a rule and feel that they were punished unfairly. But the court rules in favor of the employer because the employee did not review the rules and restrictions carefully. Paying attention to restrictions and prohibitions can a simple but essential way to prevent corporate backlash.
It's common for employees to apply for and even be hired to do jobs that they are not quite qualified for. Before signing your name, read through the job description carefully and match your skills to each task. If the job title and role are not explained thoroughly, consider moving on to a more detailed contract. With a vague job description, you may be asked to perform a wide range of tasks that you do not enjoy or simply can’t perform.
If you have a lawyer or are friends with one, have him or her review the contract with you, as their professional experience can provide invaluable insights. They can interpret legal jargon that would otherwise be confusing to you. If they know you personally, they can also provide a helpful second opinion as to whether or not you should continue with the job offer. Keep in mind, however, that although they may help you interpret the document, once your signature is added, you are solely responsible for the consequences.
When most people read contracts, they focus only on the parts they want to know about, such as high salaries and annual bonuses. They ignore the most important details and may even come close to a breach. From highlighting legal terms to consulting with a lawyer, make the effort to pore over every detail of the employment contract before putting your name on the dotted line.