Employment Contracts: Five Red Flags

Employment Contracts: Five Red Flags

Getting a new job is exciting. You may be happy to get out of your current job and move on to something that offers better pay and benefits. Maybe you get to work remotely now, which is something you have wanted to do for a while. 

Your employer has you read and sign a contract. You assume everything is OK, right? It should be fine just to go ahead and sign it.

Not so fast. Employers often include vague language or omit pertinent information altogether in a ruse to trick new hires. You may think you are being hired for a certain position with a certain salary when the job is actually something different with much lower pay. It is called bait and switch, and it is common among employers, so you need to be aware. 

Before you sign that employment contract, look for these five red flags. 

1. Non-Competition Clauses

Illinois prohibits non-compete agreements for employees earning less than $75,000 per year. If you earn more than that, seeing a non-compete clause in your employment contract should still be cause for concern. These clauses are very limiting, as they restrict you from working in the same industry for a certain period of time. There may be geographic limitations, as well, and you may be prohibited from moonlighting. These limitations can make it hard to earn money in the future, so be mindful of them.

2. Questionable Pay and Benefits

When you are taking on a new job, you want to know about your total compensation. This involves more than just your salary. Are there commissions, bonuses, and other pay involved? There may also be stock options, health insurance, retirement pensions, and other benefits. Make sure everything is clearly detailed. If the language seems vague, that may be a cause for concern.

3. One-Way Indemnity Clauses

Breach of contract can happen on the part of either party — the employee or employer. There may be a clause that defines the actions your employer may take if you breach your employment contract. However, the contract should also define your rights if your employer is in breach. If the indemnity clause only outlines how you will be punished if you breach the contract, do not sign.

4. Unclear Use of Intellectual Property

Your employer will likely own the results of any work you create, but you should still have the right to use your work in your portfolio if you ever leave. Be sure you are clear on the conditions under which you may use your intellectual property so that you are not in breach of contract.

5. Pressure to Sign Quickly

Be wary if your prospective employer pressures you to sign quickly. You should never sign a contract before reading it thoroughly. You should be given enough time to consult with your own attorney. You do not want to give up your legal rights. 

Contact Us Today

You may be excited about your new job, but do not be so quick to sign the contract. If the document lacks detail, it could harm you in many ways. 

Have an Illinois employment law attorney from The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline review your contract and advise you of any issues. Schedule a free initial consultation by filling out the online form or calling (312) 558-1454.