Drafting an employment agreement or contract is an important task at most companies. Whether you're creating a basic document that will be used to hire many folks or something specific for one person, it's wise to have an employment attorney make sure it will be enforceable. Here are three issues that have to be addressed before you can reasonably expect an agreement to hold up to legal scrutiny.
1. Appropriate Scope
One of the simplest ways for a current or former employee to nullify a contract is to show that the scope of the agreement was unreasonable. Suppose you decide to include a non-compete agreement in the contract. If this non-compete agreement goes on forever, it is guaranteed to be unenforceable. The reason it's unenforceable is that a reasonable person would consider it wrong to prohibit someone from competitively plying their trade indefinitely.
The scope of a contract includes many factors. Time, as previously noted, it part of the agreement's scope. Generally, the scope should cover which regions of the world the agreement applies in. If something is a variant of how you would describe a person's employment, it probably falls under the scope and should be included.
Another argument for nullifying an agreement is that good compensation wasn't provided in exchange for what was agreed upon. Fortunately, most courts consider the pay a person receives for their job to be sufficient.
However, extraordinary requirements for employment may require additional compensation. When in doubt, an employment attorney will tell you to include some sort of bonus or additional pay. In exchange for a small amount of money, you will receive additional protection. If the desired clause can't be justified for the money involved, you might want to consider whether you care enough about the issue in the first place.
3. Well-Defined Complaint Processes
The ability to file complaints or even blow the whistle on wrongdoing is enshrined in American law. Rather than take an adversarial position toward these actions, it's best to include appropriate complaint processes in all employment contracts you issue. Not only will this help employees handle their concerns in a structured manner, but it can be used in court to show you've made a good-faith effort to integrate complaints into your company's processes.
It's also important to define particular elements of the process. Employees should know who complaints go to, and they should able to trust that party to be impartial.