KY Employment Contract Lawyers
Employees can make or break your business.
Bad ones can drive away customers; excellent ones can drive up profits. And they likely feel the same way about you – bad employers can make life miserable; good ones can bring lifelong professional satisfaction. To solidify the relationship, it’s important to execute an employment contract that details in writing the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The best way to protect yourself and make sure nothing gets overlooked is to have a standard employment agreement drafted by an attorney for use whenever you want to make an employment offer. If you already have an employment contract, it is wise to have a lawyer check it over.
With over 35 years of experience in our community, the Fayette County business lawyers at Bunch & Brock are committed to providing each of our clients with a high level of personal service. We are dedicated to helping those in our community who may be in the beginning stages of forming a business or may need just a document review. We take the time to fully understand your situation and discuss your options. Let us work with you to make your business ownership dreams come true.
Many of the terms of an employment contract are worked out before signing. Issues such as salary, benefits and duties are usually at least orally agreed to before employment is offered or accepted. In all but one state (Montana), employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will.” An employer can terminate an employee at any time for any legal reason or for no reason without incurring liability. Similarly, the employee is free to leave for any reason or no reason at any time with no liability. The at-will presumption is a default rule that can be modified by contract, such as through a provision for a specific term of employment or one that allows termination for cause only. This is done most often with high-level employees.
Employees vs. Independent Contractors
Labor cost savings, reduced liability and hiring/firing flexibility are some of the reasons many small businesses choose independent contractors for their staffing needs. However, it is extremely important to properly classify workers. If an independent contractor is discovered to meet the legal definition of an employee, the consequences to the employer can be costly. Whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee generally depends on the employer’s amount of control over the work being done. Some telltale signs that a worker is an independent contractor are: having more than one client, keeping business records, operating under a business name, or submitting invoices for completed work.
Employment agreements are highly customizable. They vary greatly among businesses and within them. In addition to laying out the terms of the employee’s responsibilities, commonly addressed topics include:
Compensation: How much and how often will the employee be paid? A fixed, biweekly sum? An hourly amount? Base pay plus commission? Is there a bonus program? What about raises? Is payment by check or direct deposit?
Confidentiality: Most often used in relation to intellectual property or client lists, employers can specify what sort of information needs to be kept private and what the consequences are if the employee shares restricted information. This can be put in the employment contract or can be imposed in a separate non-disclosure agreement.
Non-compete: You may wish to prevent your employee from working for a direct competitor if they cease working for you. Non-competition clauses must be reasonably limited in duration and geographic scope, and, like non-disclosure agreements, can be incorporated into the employment contract or laid out in a separate agreement.
Benefits: This is the place to list all the “extras” that the employee is getting in addition to a salary or wage. Health insurance, retirement plans, 401K matching, parking, vacation, sick time, life insurance and stock options are some of the most popular.
Work product: While most employees expect that anything they create will become the company’s property, work-product matters can cause a lot of legal conflict. Protect yourself by incorporating straightforward clauses that make intellectual property rights clear.
Technology limitations: You may want to control use of company email, computers, mobile phones, telephones, copiers, etc., by specifying they are to be used only for work purposes.
Dispute resolution: This is the place to lay out your expectations regarding mediation, arbitration, and litigation.
We Can Help
Having experienced business attorneys draft your employment agreement can help you avoid or minimize any potential disputes that could derail the success of your business. At Bunch & Brock, our Lexington, KY-based business attorneys understand the needs of individual business owners, and we have the necessary skills to be able to help them through potentially challenging issues. We have decades of experience successfully navigating the various stages of business development and we can help you. To schedule an initial consultation, please call 859-254-5522 or fill out this online form.