New York City Employment Contract Lawyer
Helping Workers in New York City Understand and Navigate the Terms and Conditions of Employment
Starting a new job? It is important to understand the terms of your employment before entering into a contract. Likewise, if you receive a new agreement from your current employer, it is essential to fully understand the new or updated terms to which you are agreeing. It is far easier and less costly to address the issues beforehand, rather than contend with litigation as a result of a contract dispute. Contact us to review and potentially negotiate the terms of your employment contracts. Our NYC employment contract lawyers can help you understand the terms and potential risks associated with signing the contract.
What Should I Look for in an Employment Contract?
Without a contract, employment in New York operates on an at-will basis. In an at-will employment relationship, an employee can quit or be fired at any time, without any requirement for one party to give notice to the other or provide any reason for the separation. An employment contract changes that. In a contractual employment relationship, your rights to continued employment are governed by the terms of the contract. If you are terminated in violation of the contract, you have a breach of contract claim against your employer and could sue in court for damages caused by the breach.
An employment contract could be a simple document of only a few pages, or it could be several pages long, densely packed with legalese designed to protect the employer as much as possible. Employment contracts typically cover the employee’s start date, pay and benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Importantly, the contract may set out grounds for termination. The agreement might list specific grounds or might give general assurances of continued employment based on good behavior, positive evaluations or performance reviews, etc. These guarantees are essential when considering whether you were wrongfully terminated in the event you get fired.
Employment agreements are generally express, written contracts, but a contract can be formed in other ways as well. For example, a contract could be implied based on verbal promises, actions by the employer, or statements made in company policies or employee handbooks. An experienced New York employment lawyer will be able to review your situation and argue whether an employment contract exists and what its boundaries are.
Other Employment Contracts
In addition to general employment contracts, Mansell Law can help you resolve questions surrounding other agreements tied to the employment relationship, including:
- Severance Review & Negotiations
- Non-Compete & Non-Solicitation Agreements
In some positions, it’s possible you would learn company trade secrets or gain access to confidential information as part of the job. A nondisclosure agreement is meant to keep you from sharing such information with competitors or disclosing it publicly. Even threatening to reveal confidential information could be a violation of a nondisclosure agreement. These employment contracts might alsoncontain liquidated damages provisions that punish the employee beyond any actual damages caused by disclosure. Nondisclosure agreements can be mutually negotiated or unilaterally imposed by the employer. Our experienced New York employment law attorneys can help you negotiate a fair agreement or review any agreement handed to you so that you understand its terms.
If you sign a confidentiality agreement, you are agreeing to keep confidential any privileged information you learn about the employer’s business or trade secrets. A company’s customer list, for example, might be considered confidential or proprietary information. To be enforceable, confidentiality agreements must be carefully drafted to define what information is to be kept confidential. Unlike non-compete agreements, which must be reasonably limited in their duration, a confidentiality agreement can be kept in force for as long as the company keeps its information confidential.
Tortious Interference With Contractual Relations
New York courts recognize a civil cause of action for tortious interference with contractual relations. The elements of this type of lawsuit include:
- There was a valid contract between two parties
- The defendant knew about the contract’s existence
- The defendant’s interference caused a breach of the contract
- The defendant’s interference was intentional and improper
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result
An example of this tort in the employment context could be if your supervisor fires you when he or she actually did not have the authority to. Perhaps they were misclassified as an executive employee but had no actual authority to hire or fire. As a tort-based claim, your ability to collect money damages from the defendant is broader than it would be in a breach of contract action. You might also have a wrongful termination claim against your employer.
Help With Employment Contracts in New York Is a Phone Call Away
For help negotiating, drafting or reviewing employment contracts or other employment agreements, or enforcing or challenging them in court, call the experienced New York employment law attorneys at Mansell Law for a free consultation at 646-921-8900.