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Helping You Navigate Workplace Issues in California

California Employment Contract Lawyer

A well-crafted employee contract may help some employees mitigate future problems or even stifle them altogether before disputes even arise. However, other employment contracts may contain ambiguous terms – leaving many questions about the conditions of employment and rights of the employee. Ensuring that you understand your employment contract – before you sign the agreement – is important to make sure that you understand your rights in the workplace. Contact our firm at Scott • Wagner and Associates today to schedule a consultation with a California employment contracts lawyer today.

What Does a Well-Crafted Employment Contract Entail?

We have identified a few terms which are important to include in your employment contract. However, this is not an exhaustive list of terms and the situation may vary depending on the situation. Therefore, the best course of action for employees with questions about their employment contract is to contact a labor and employment attorney to understand your rights.

Terms of Payment: A well-drafted written contract should include details about how much an employee will receive in exchange for his or her services. Depending on the type of job, this could be an hourly wage, a salary, or commission-based pay. If a company offers bonuses, the contract should reflect that, including what the terms of receiving such a bonus are as well as who is eligible to receive one. Information about health insurance, reimbursement for travel expenses, and if applicable, whether an employee will have access to a company car, may also be terms to consider including.

Terms of Employment: It can make things much simpler down the road if a contract states whether an employee is full-time or part-time and whether he or she is permitted to engage in other forms of employment. The length of employment may also be an important term to consider including in an employment contract. Including the employee’s job title as well as an explanation of his or her general duties and responsibilities can also ensure that an employee’s rights are protected if he or she is later terminated for a reason related to the performance of specific duties. Vacation time, paid leave, allocated sick days, and how overtime will be compensated are also important terms to include in a contract.

Termination: Provisions explaining how and when an employee can be terminated are vital to any written contract. In California, absent a contractual agreement and as long as it is not for a discriminatory purpose, an employee can be fired “at will,” which means that an employer may not have to show good cause before firing any employee. However, if a contract explicitly states that an employee can only be terminated for just cause, he or she may have additional protections as it relates to the terms of their employment. In this situation, the reasons for termination may be listed in the contract or they can be implied. A contract may also include the necessary procedure for termination, which could include a notice period or the issuance of a warning in advance of termination.

Implied Contracts

Sometimes, the parties intend to create a written contract, but it never comes to fruition. Other times, the employment relationship is more causal, and agreements do not get reduced to writing. Even without a written contract, employees in these situations may have rights under an implied contract. These types of contracts can be created through an employer’s statements or actions indicating continued employment. In certain circumstances, employer handbooks and company policies may also constitute an implied contract between an employer and an employee if they outline what actions justify termination.

For example, in an implied-contract situation, if an employer makes oral or written representations to employees regarding job security or termination procedures, he or she may be required to adhere to them at a later date. Alternatively, handbook provisions may state that a person will only be terminated for just cause. A hiring official’s oral representations that employment will continue as long as the employee’s performance is satisfactory could create an implied contract that would prevent an employer from terminating without cause. Conduct can also create a contract if the conduct of both an employer and an employee is intentional and each knows that the other will interpret the conduct as an agreement. If an employee was fired in violation of a company’s handbook or express policy, he or she may have a valid claim of wrongful termination against the employer.

Contact Our California Employment Contract Lawyers Today

Our firm may be able to help you avoid problems in the future. Call the California law offices of Scott • Wagner and Associates today to schedule a consultation with a California employment contracts lawyer.

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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