Don’t Get Taken For A Ride, Look For These Tough Clauses In Your Employment Contract

When you’re given any employment contract, there are a few obvious things to check. The financial side of business is the most obvious of these, as are things like start and end dates and benefits.

But, many employment contracts are at least a few pages long. Employers also have an annoying habit of hovering over you and expecting you to sign right away. As a result, you might rush into signing after checking only those essentials.

As well as leaving you at risk of breaching a contractual agreement you aren’t aware of, this mistake may leave you struggling under certain tough clauses that typically appear somewhere in a contract. 

To avoid this, always take your contracts home to read before signing, and be sure to look for the following tough clauses that might trip you up. 

#1 – Dismissal/termination clauses and restrictions

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You might not want to think about dismissal when you’re just starting a job, but it’s important to. Every contract should include mention of cases for dismissal or termination, including things like notice periods, and any grounds for sudden dismissal. Employment contracts will also typically include what’s known as ‘post-termination restrictions’. These most often refer to your ability to take clients with you, which your employer may restrict if you leave for a competing company. Make sure you understand this and, if you think restrictions are too harsh, that you address them before signing. 

#2 – Non-compete clauses

Non-compete clauses are standard contract clauses that prevent you from taking your knowledge elsewhere. This is commonplace practice and is something that you’re unlike to have any wiggle room on. However, some contracts also include non-compete clauses that last beyond your employment with that company, sometimes for a good few years. Admittedly, these clauses aren’t always upholdable, as can be seen from cases like UTA against Michael Kassan lawsuit. Kassan is looking to open his own agency even though UTA has tried to tie him into a non-compete clause lasting two years post-termination. Ultimately, though, going it alone, or just getting a new job, will be much harder if you’re stuck in a long-lasting non-compete clause. Ideally, only sign a contract with a clause that lasts through your employment, or ask your employer about a reduction in these terms. 

#3 – Employment standards

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Some employers will include contract clauses that limit your ability to do freelance or at-home work during your employment. If you have an existing side hustle or intend to start one, it’s therefore vital that you address this issue with your employer in advance. In some cases, you may find that an employer will be willing to include exceptions, as long as they don’t also clash with things like any non-compete clauses. 

Contracts can feel like a lot of work, but they’re worth reading fully to ensure an agreement that everyone’s happy with. If you don’t like the look of one of these tough clauses in your contract, then don’t hesitate to have it changed before you sign! 

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