Should I Sign A New York Employment Agreement?
The significant majority of workers in New York work “at will,” which means that they do not have a verbal or written employment agreement with their employers – indeed, most employees in the United States work on an at-will basis. This means that an employee may leave their job, or an employer may terminate an employee, at any time, for any reason. However, if an employee does have a contract, their employer must abide by it. Failure to do so is actionable.
Positives & Negatives
An employment agreement is a contract, which means that both parties who sign it are then legally bound by its provisions. While most employees feel safer with an employment agreement in force, there are several potential reasons why you may not want to sign one. Perhaps the most common is that signing an employment contract effectively binds you to one company for a set period of time, regardless of what may occur in your life. If you receive another offer, the only way to accept it is essentially to renegotiate your contract, which can be all but impossible to do.
Another potential issue with many employment contracts is the inclusion of what are known as post-employment provisions. Two of the most common examples are non-compete clauses and non-solicitation clauses, both of which effectively limit your right to work after you leave the current company (particularly non-compete clauses; they bar a former employee from working in the same industry, in the same area, for a set period of time). While an employer has the right to protect its business, it does not have the right to restrict one from working in an overly broad manner, and New York law generally disfavors non-compete agreements, though they are still legal.
Know Your Agreement
If you do sign an employment agreement, be certain that you are familiar with all its relevant provisions, because if your employer decides to unlawfully terminate you or otherwise breach the agreement, being able to cite the contract itself can make a difference, particularly if you suspect the breach is retaliation against you. New York law forbids retaliation against employees for exercising their rights, such as contributing to HR investigations or filing a claim for workers’ compensation or disability benefits.
If your employer has breached your employment contract, but not out of retaliation against you, you have the right to seek redress, though this does not always mean a lawsuit. It may be easier to request what is known as specific performance – that is, for the contract to be honored exactly as specified (if at all possible) or to otherwise try and negotiate with your employer. This sometimes bears fruit, though the odds are higher with a knowledgeable attorney on your side.
Contact A New York Employment Law Attorney
Employment contracts can help an employee feel secure. However, an unethical employer may exploit yours in order to put you in a disadvantageous position. If you have questions or concerns surrounding your employment agreement, contacting a New York City employment contract attorney from Mansell Law, LLC may help to get them managed. Contact our offices today via our website, or call at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.