An employment contract spells out the conditions of employment including wages, hours, and type of work. Depending upon the level of employment, the responsibility of the new employee, and the nature of the business, the conditions of employment will often encompass the following elements:
- Term of employment.
- Duties of the employee including general and specific responsibilities and performance of duties.
- Compensation including monthly salary, automobile expenses, relocation and moving expenses, and a one-time bonus inducement if used. Details such as bonus or incentive plans, stock options, salary deferment plans, disability benefits, and health and retirement plans may or may not be spelled out.
- Confidentiality required of the employee regarding employer's operating expenses, pricing formulas, procedures, trade secrets, and proprietary information. This confidentiality extends to employee lists, customer lists, or prospective customers who become clients of the organization during the individual's term.
- A non-compete clause.
- Provisions for termination including a violation of responsibility, an inability to perform duties, reorganization, or low company profits. Higher-level employees frequently have a clause included in the contract to state a certain amount of money, often from six to twelve months' salary, that will be paid to the employee in the event of termination by disagreement or dispute.
At The Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. our contract attorneys are often retained to prepare or review contracts for executive level and other employees. We are also frequently retained when the employer breaches or violates a contract or agreement with the employee. We can also defend employees who are being sued by employers for breach of contract involving non-compete agreements, confidentiality clauses and other similar issues.
Contracts are not necessarily required to be in writing in every case. For example, failure to pay wages can constitute a breach of an oral or verbal agreement to pay the wages or salary as promised. The law does require that certain legal formalities be observed in order for a contract to be legally enforceable. One of the primary legal requirement for employment contacts is that the contract must be supported by legal consideration, i.e., something of value must be given or promised by each party to the contract. In the case of wages or salary, the employer promises to pay the agreed compensation and the employee promises to do the required work in return. Generally speaking, unilateral promises not supported by valid consideration are not legally enforceable. In addition, Florida courts have ruled that statements made in employee handbooks or employer policy and procedure manuals do not constitute contracts between the employer and the employee. If advice is needed concerning contracts or if legal action is contemplated in a breach of contract case our employment contract attorneys can help. Please contact The Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. for advice regarding any issue related to employment contracts or agreements.