Your business is an asset and should be treated as such. As your business increases, you hire employees. The more employees you hire, the more diverse the terms of employment for each type of employee. It is important from the time a job is offered for employees to understand the terms of their employment, for the terms to be consistent within the various classes of employment, and for you to keep track of these various employment terms.
One of the advantages of a written contract is that it clearly defines the terms of employment and the duties and responsibilities of each party, and can still maintain the at-will status of an employee When an employee fails to comply with his or her responsibilities, a well-drafted contract forecasts a process to resolve the dispute and impose remedies. Contracts may make sense for certain management-level employees and can be complex or simple. Public employers may be limited in the type of contract they can have with any employee and should be guided by the empowering statutes. Public or private business owners who want to draft contracts should seek the counsel of an employment law attorney to help prepare them.
As a business owner, you may find yourself in a position where your hire will have access to your company’s confidential information. To protect your company’s confidential information and trade secrets, you can request that employees sign a confidentiality agreement.
A confidentiality agreement prevents employees from revealing the business’s confidential information without the business owner’s permission. This agreement also prevents former employees and contractors from using the business’s confidential information to their benefit in the future.
Another agreement that can help you protect your business when you hire a new employee is a non-compete agreement. This agreement prevents employees from competing against your business during employment as well as after the employee leaves, for any reason, your employ.
When drafting a non-compete covenant, it must be reasonable in time and geographic location and supported by actual consideration. Generally, courts do not favor non-compete provisions, so it is essential to use them only for employees whose exit could negatively impact the business.
Policies are an important cornerstone in any employer-employee relationship. Employee policies describe, among other things, terms of employment, settle the expectations of employees. Policies that govern the employment relationship set the minimum standards for memorializing the terms of employment. Policies are important for both private and public employers and can include appropriate provisions for a workplace with represented and unrepresented employees.
If you own a small to mid-sized business and are interested in the ways in which an employer can protect itself through the clear communication of employment expectations contact Neva Stotler Law today. Our Pittsburgh employment law attorney has extensive experience helping companies navigate the many pitfalls of termination and discipline. Contact the highly knowledgeable Neva Stotler Law to consult your case by calling 724-841-5565.