An employee agreement is a type of contract between an employee and their employee. It is usually used interchangeably with the term “employment contract”. However, employment contract negotiations are usually associated with the hiring stage of employment, and hiring contracts are generally signed before he employee begins working.
In contrast, an employee agreement may be formed at any time during the employment, and can deal with other matters besides hiring terms.
What Can Be Contained in an Employee Agreement?
An employee agreement can cover such diverse matters as:
- Agreement for the employee not to disclose company trade secrets or solicit fellow employees or former clients for a short period of time after leaving the company
- An agreement by the employer to allow the employee to purchase stocks or securities
- Provisions regarding how disputes should be legally resolved (i.e., litigation vs. out-of-court settlements)
- Provisions regarding termination, retirement, transfers, and other long-term matters.
Also, employee agreements can sometimes be made between two or more employees. These may be necessary for instance if the employees will be working jointly on a project and need to spell out specific terms in a contract (for instance, division of profits on a sale).
What If an Employment Agreement Is Violated?
If an employee agreement is violated, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit or to file a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. When filing such a claim, it is advisable to:
- Keep records of any documents related to the violation (such as pay stubs, work logs, account statements, copies of the contract itself, etc.)
- Contact a lawyer for assistance with legal research
- Make a written account of the incident(s) leading to the violation, and of the violation itself
Remedies for breach of an employment agreement can include:
- Monetary damages for economic losses caused by the breach
- Reinstatement to the previous position (in cases of wrongful termination)
- Changes in company policy, if the violation was widespread
Thus, employment agreements should be carefully negotiated and reviewed before entering into one. They can have long term effects on one’s advancement opportunities in the future, and can also create various legal constraints on the employee.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With an Employee Agreement?
Employee agreements can cover a very broad range of employment matters. If you need help with an employee agreement, it may be in your best interests to hire a qualified employment attorney. Your lawyer can help you find the right way to represent your interests in a contract. If you have any questions or legal disputes over the agreement, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit with the court to obtain the appropriate remedy.