Employment Contracts in Texas
Let us start with the basics of an employment contract and what it can do for both you and your employer. Texas is an “At-Will” state, this means that either the employee or the employer can terminate the employment for any reason as long the reason the employer is not ending the employment for an illegal reason such as some type of discrimination. Many Texas employers are providing employment contracts because of the benefit they can provide to both the employee and themselves.
However, even with an employment contract in place, many employers still try to shortchange their workers. If you have faced wrongful termination or unpaid overtime under an employment contract, you need the skills of the Leichter Law Firm attorneys.
What an Employment Contract Should Cover
We are sure that like most people when you have gone through the interview process and you are offered the position, it is a feeling of accomplishment, nervousness, and elation as you have achieved a goal. These feelings have you looking to the future and for good reason. The next step of the hiring process is that you may be presented with an employment contract. Like most contracts they will be filled with unfamiliar legalese, provisions, and clauses that you may not understand. Most prospective employees may be hesitant to ask questions as they may not want to rock the boat or feel that they should know what things mean. Most just concentrate on the salary, duties, and benefits. Below are a few things that should absolutely be in an employment contract.
- Job descriptions and the duties of the job: This is fundamental to any employment contract; it should clearly describe what is expected of you and what the duties and scope of the position is within the company.
- Compensation and Benefits: This section puts in writing what was discussed with you regarding your salary or hourly wage, whether overtime is expected from you, sick time, vacation time, how they will be accrued and pay periods. The benefits section will outline, the health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, stock options, signing bonuses, yearly bonuses and raises.
- Term of The Contract: An employment contract should have a length of term or how long of a period that the contract covers and how it renews.
- Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses: Many employers utilize clauses to protect themselves when hiring as they may have trade secrets, customer lists, proprietary information that they use for their business. These clauses and addendums have legal limitations and both employer and employee should seek legal counsel should one of these clauses appear in an employment contract.
- Non-Solicitation Clauses: This clause simply means that should you leave; you may not solicit any clients or co-workers to come to another company. Depending on your prospective position this is a standard clause.
- Morality Clauses: Some employers have begun to use morality clauses that outline behavior that they expect from their employees, you may see drug testing, speech, and dress codes within these types of clauses.
- Termination Clause: This is the “divorce” clause and most people do not look at it until termination has happened. Most employers have spent a good amount of time on this clause as it may be one of the most important in the contract. There should be protections written into this clause as to how termination will occur and for what reasons. There may be provisions of how an employee may fight the termination through the courts or arbitration. Provisions within this clause should also outline severance, accrued vacation, and sick time along with accrued retirement benefits and cobra information. Conversely, this clause should also outline what the company expects back from the employee, if the company provided cars, phones, computers, or credit cards.
You Have Rights
There are many extenuating circumstances that go into making a contract, from verbal to historical and they all play a part in a breach of contract suit. You may not know that you may be entitled to overtime pay even though you were salaried, you may have been terminated in breach of your contract or even unlawfully. For years, the Leichter Law Firm has been helping Texans just like you get what was written in their employment contracts. David Langenfeld of the Leichter Law firm is a Board-Certified Employment Law Specialist, only 1% of all Lawyers in Texas are board-certified and that means that there is no one more qualified in Texas to help you. If you have any questions about your employment contract or your termination, call a Texas employment lawyer for a free consultation at 512-495-9995.