Employment Contracts

Employment ContractsEmployment Contracts

An employment contract is an indispensible tool for management in employer-employee relations.  McLaughlin & Nardi’s New Jersey employment attorneys negotiate, draft and enforce employment contracts.  We are also experienced at litigating over employee breaches of employment contracts – or claimed breaches by employers – in New Jersey’s state and federal courts, and throughout the Northeast.   Our New Jersey employment attorneys have negotiated, drafted and enforced employment contracts with professionals such as doctors and accountants, executives, support staff, sales people, and many others in all types of positions in all types of industries.

The Employment Contract

Unless an employee is in a union or civil service (in other words, the vast majority of employees at all levels), they are “employees-at-will.”  This means that they can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all, but they cannot be fired for an illegal reason.  However, without setting the “rules of the game,” the employer is open to claims of wrongful termination or failure to provide pay or benefits.  

Additionally, an employee-at-will can leave at any time, and with no notice.  An employment contract locks in key employees at a set compensation level.  This protects the company’s most valuable assets – its key employees – from walking out the door, and allows the company to know its costs going forward.

An employment contract allows the parties to set terms of their employment relationship with the force of law.

Restrictive Covenants

Even if the employer does not want to limit itself to a particular length of employment, an employment contract can still provide a vital service – restrictive covenants.  The employment contract can provide that in consideration for her employment, the employee must refrain from certain conduct, both during her employment and after.  Examples include:

  • Non-compete agreements.  The employee agrees not to compete or work for a competitor for a fixed period.
  • Non-solicitation.  The employee agrees not to solicit the company’s clients.
  • No raiding.  The employee agrees not to take the company’s other employees.
  • Confidentiality.  The employee agrees to keep confidential all of the employer’s business practices, trade secrets, intellectual property, customer lists, employment practices, and other sensitive information.
  • Ownership.  The employee agrees that any ideas, inventions, patents, processes, etc., which he developed while working for the company are the company’s property.
  • Non-disparagement.  The employee agrees that she will not make harmful statements about the company after she leaves.

Our New Jersey employment attorneys negotiate, draft, enforce and litigate over restrictive covenants in employment contracts.

Compensation, Benefits, and Job Functions

Employment contracts can cover a wide range of compensation and benefit issues, including:

  • Executive compensation
  • Pay levels and structures
  • Health benefits
  • Life, disability and other insurance
  • Vacations, sick leave, personal days, and other time off
  • Bonuses
  • Stock options
  • Perquisites
  • Incentive compensation structure and requirements

Additionally, employment contracts can, and should, clearly spell out what the employee is expected to do.  Clearly stated duties and performance criteria can provide convincing evidence that an employee was fired for a legitimate business reason, rather than a prohibited one such as discrimination or retaliation.

Handbooks as Contracts

New Jersey law, unlike that of most states, provides that an employee manual or handbook can become a contract if it does not contain certain required provisions. McLaughlin & Nardi’s New Jersey employment contract attorneys help business draft employment manuals to ensure that they do not create contracts, and review existing employee handbooks to ensure that they have not already unwittingly done so.

Contact McLaughlin & Nardi’s Employment Attorneys

Our New Jersey employment attorneys are experienced in negotiating, drafting, enforcing and litigating over employment contracts for employers in all types of industries.  Please e-mail us or call one of our experienced New Jersey management employment lawyers at (973) 890-0004 to obtain assistance.

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