Red Flags to Look for in Employment Contracts By Gregory Thyberg on December 10, 2022

Men shaking handsThyberg Law is here to help you fight workplace injustice and take steps to prevent it, starting with noticing red flags in your employment contract. When looked at carefully, employment contracts can give you an inside look into a company’s culture, values, and respect for its employees. Employment law is designed to protect workers, but many employees aren’t aware of their rights. At Thyberg Law in Sacramento, CA, our attorneys are here to assist you when legal action needs to be taken, but taking the time to understand these five warning signs can help you avoid a lengthy legal battle in the future.

1. Look at Clauses

Clauses in an employment contract outline the responsibilities and rights of you and your employer. These clauses define what’s expected of you and what you should expect of your employer. Information on compensation, probationary periods, and other details relative to your job, position, and industry are listed here. Look out for the following clauses in your employment contract:

  1. Non-compete clause: Non-compete clauses restrict you from switching to another company in your industry for a certain amount of time after you leave your current position. This type of clause can hinder your career progression and lead to gaps in your resume if you decide to leave the company. For example, it was widely reported in the media that Disney channel stars were unable to leave their employment confines, but this practice is more widespread. According to a survey from the Economic Policy Institute, about half of all employers use non-compete clauses in their employment contracts.
  2. Confidentiality clause: Confidentiality clauses can keep you from sharing knowledge and information you’ve picked up about the company, even after you leave. If you work in an industry where knowledge is highly valued, this can be a significant hindrance in the future.
  3. Arbitration clause: An arbitration clause requires you to go through a private arbitration process rather than suing in court. If you need to pursue a legal battle, an arbitration clause can limit your legal rights. Our Sacramento attorneys can review your employment contract and determine your best legal option moving forward.

2. Take Note of Benefits

The benefits your employer gives may be indicative of how they value their employees. For example, if your full-time job offers no paid time off, they may be more likely to short-change you in other ways while you’re on and off the clock. While the type of benefits you receive can vary based on your industry, title, and other factors, minimal benefits can indicate that the employer is not interested in employee well-being and job satisfaction.

3. Keep an Eye Out for Ambiguous Language

If the language used in your contract is vague and open to interpretation, your employer may not be entirely honest and transparent with you. For instance, vague terms like “reasonable” or “appropriate” are up to interpretation and can be used against you by your employer.

4. Spot Missing Information

Certain pieces of information should almost always be included in your employment contract, such as:

  1. Job description
  2. Compensation
  3. Benefits
  4. Work hours
  5. Job responsibilities

If this information is missing, this is an important issue to address with your employer or an attorney before signing the contract. You want to have a clear understanding of your role, what’s expected of you, and what you’re getting out of it before you accept a job.

5. Bring Up Unreasonable Expectations

You should generally know what’s expected of you regarding what was listed on the original job posting and what you’ve gleaned from the interview process. If additional responsibilities outside your scope of work are added to the contract, now is the time to address and fix them. You don’t want to be trapped in a job that has unrealistic expectations and lacks the formal training you need to accomplish what’s expected of you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Address the Problem - Contact an Attorney

If anything looks amiss on your employment contract, address the issue with our Sacramento team before you commit yourself to a job. To learn more about your legal rights and schedule a complimentary case review, call our office at (916) 204-9173 or send us a message online.

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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