The careful drafting and executing employment contracts can take some of the worry out of hiring or terminating employees. The relationship between employer and employee is subject to certain labor and tort laws. Sound and reliable legal advice and correct contracts can make a difference in the protection of oneself and one's business enterprise. Mutual agreements between the employer and employee are important elements to creating good working relationships.
At Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP the attorneys serving California are experienced in all aspects of labor law, including employment counseling, contractor agreements, non-competition agreements, employment litigation, that affect small businesses, large corporations, unions, and government agencies. Employment contracts can help deter lawsuits initiated by employees individually or class action suits but if there are actions brought against a business entity, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney. The established firm offers a high level of professional and personalized service to their clients and works with them to achieve the best possible results.
The employment relationship is created through oral, express or implied contracts that agree on certain terms that are "at will" or bound by specific limitations and within the governing laws. The contract goes into effect at the point when the parties agree to the terms and conditions and the contract becomes controlling on the employment relationship. The relationships can include those between an employer and employee or employer and independent contractor. The laws offer more protections to employees than they do to independent contractors such as in wage and hour, meal and rest break, and other laws specific to employees. The right to control is the main criteria in determining the type of employment relationship.
"At will" employment contracts can be terminated by either party by giving notice. There are no specific terms to the employment and the parties understand they can terminate the contract "at will." It allows the employer to terminate a contract without consequence. The employer may end the employment relationship on the basis of neglect of duties or the inability to perform the work duties.
In an "express" employment contract, the parties mutually agree on specific "material terms" whether stated in writing or verbally. The material terms, which can include such things as paydays, salary, and work duties, must be definite or the contract may be invalid. It is always best to have contracts in writing to avoid misunderstandings and to have a legal stance in case of a breach of contract.
Confidentiality agreements where employees or independent contracts agree not to divulge information about the company and its operations, trade secrets, client lists, and other information crucial to keeping a competitive edge in the business world can allow employers some confidence. All aspects of a business belong to the employer except for the pay employees receive. Non-compete agreements, non-solicitation of employees, and agreements that protect inventions are other means to protect employers.
A business lawyer with the firm can help with contract formation and acceptance by the parties involved. It is important to have clear and exact definitions in the contract language and to ensure that it is in compliance with the various laws. A written contract is more reliable in proving cases of breach of contract. Taking the time to make sure clients use and understand proper contracts can help avoid problems in the future. Consulting with an attorney at the time of hiring an employee or independent contractor or when ending the employment relationship can make a difference in the outcome. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys understand the need to protect employers and avoid the distractions of time and resource consuming lawsuits that can involve wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to pay overtime, and other violations of the labor laws.
Call Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP and speak to a Santa Clarita employment contract attorney for more information. We serve businesses in LA County, Orange County, and throughout California.