Why are Formal Employment Agreements Important?
Our Employee Contract Review Lawyer in Calgary can help protect your business. Having an enforceable employment contract in place helps create certainty for both the employee and employer, by clearly specifying the terms and conditions governing the employment relationship. One of the advantages of having a formal employment agreement in place is the ability to limit employee entitlements to further severance at the time of termination. A well-drafted and enforceable termination clause can mitigate employer liability, save the employer money, and help prevent any future legal headaches down the road.
Other clauses such as non-competition or non-solicitation clauses, help protect an employer’s business both during and after the employment relationship, as do clauses relating to confidentiality and acceptable use of technology.
What Makes an Employment Contract Enforceable?
Not all contracts are created equal. Many employers mistakenly insert “boiler-plate” language into their employment agreements, only to find it unenforceable down the road. Canadian courts have held that uncertain or ambiguous language found in an employment contract should be interpreted in favour of the employee. Therefore, an effective contract should be drafted with clear and concise language to avoid any future interpretation issues.
Furthermore, termination clauses should always be drafted in compliance with applicable employment legislation. Although an employer can limit an employee’s entitlement to further severance under the common law, an employer cannot contract out of the statutory minimums governing termination notice (or pay in lieu of notice) as set out in the Alberta Employment Standards Code. Contracts that attempt to provide less than the statutory minimum termination notice to employees will not be found enforceable by a court.
Finally, many employers get into trouble when they try to alter the terms of employment without notice or consent or ask an employee to sign a new employment contract without valid consideration, which can undermine the validity of the contract and also leave an employer open to a potential constructive dismissal lawsuit. Therefore, the context and timing surrounding the signing of the employment agreement can become quite relevant in determining whether a binding contract is in place.
Why Hire A Lawyer?
The experienced employment lawyers at West Legal can help you draft a clear and enforceable agreement that complies with the applicable legislation and other legal requirements. Our lawyers can help tailor your agreements to each individual employee while ensuring that the needs of your particular organization are met, and your business interests are protected. We can also review your current employment agreements in order to advise on any potential liabilities or legal issues, as well as potential solutions. We know you worked hard to build your business, let us help protect it!