Employment agreements are more common in certain industries, such as medicine and oilfield sales. However, the terms of these agreements can often be quite restrictive to employees. With that in mind, remember that having any sort of employee agreement read by qualified counsel is always a prudent move. It is seldom in an employee’s best interest to agree to a non-compete provision or restrictive covenant. This type of provision purports to limit the employee’s ability to go to work for a competitor. And should you be unhappy with any of the terms set forward in those agreements, you have the option to raise concerns and negotiate with an employer.
Common issues that shouldn’t be overlooked in an employee agreement include:
- Necessity: The fear of being locked out of one’s field, or becoming unemployable as you wait for a non-compete agreement to expire, is not irrational. Explain your concerns to your employer and it’s possible that a non-solicitation agreement or a non-disclosure agreement can be substituted in its place.
- Length: The longer a non-compete agreement lasts, the more severely it potentially impacts an individual’s ability to find a job in their field.
- Pay: Because the ability to find a job can be impacted by a non-compete agreement, some employees ask that their employer, should they be terminated, continue to compensate them until they’ve found another position.
- Call schedule and locum tenens coverage: Locums are temporary workers who fulfill an employee’s duties should they be away. They’re often seen in the medical profession, when physicians and support staff are absent or otherwise unavailable. Locums can help shield employers and employees alike from liability and claims of being overworked, should an accident take place on the job.
Ultimately, however, if you want the job, you may be forced to sign the agreement. While the space you have in which to operate may be limited, it’s possible that there’s more there than you realized. A qualified attorney can help you to recognize this, and assist in exploring your options.