Starting, building, and growing a business all require a lot of work. You have to find a product or service that is in demand, target a market, and build advertising campaigns all while you seek to obtain sufficient physical space, supply chains, and talent. It’s a monumental task that can be made possible through the effective utilization of contracts. However, when these contracts are breached, you need to know how it affects you and what you can do to protect yourself and your business.

This week we will look at employment contracts. These documents can ensure that you secure talent while specifying the parameters of their employment. However, an employment contract is only as strong as it is written and policed. So, let’s take a look at some terms you might want to include in your employment contracts and why policing them is important.

  • Salary and benefits: Here, you’re probably playing defense if breach is alleged. So, you should make sure that your employment contracts are crystal clear on these points, leaving no room for interpretation. You should also keep detailed records as far as wages paid and time taken off in the event that allegations of breach are made.
  • Job duties: You want to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for, so your employment contracts need to incorporate everything you anticipate your employee doing. Specificity here might box you in to a certain extent, so try to ensure you have some wiggle room. By monitoring your employee’s activities you can better ensure that you’re not being taken advantage of and that you are getting exactly what you bargained for.
  • Confidentiality: Keeping your business information secret could be crucial to your success. If this is the case, then you might need a non-disclosure agreement, although you might be able to include a confidentiality provision in your employment contract. A breach of confidentiality could seriously harm your business, so you need to watch what your employees are saying and to whom. Also, carefully document how the breach has affected your business, as doing so could be key in a contract breach case when it comes time to showing the damages you have suffered.
  • Non-compete agreements: Similarly, the terms of a non-compete agreement, which can be found in an employment contract, can protect your business secrets from being divulged by your former employee and ensure that you stay ahead of your competition for a specified period of time. Failing to have one of these agreements in place can put your business at risk of losing its edge over the competition. Therefore, even after an individual leaves your employ, it is wise to keep tabs on your competition to see if they have any relationship with that individual. If the competition does, then the terms of your non-compete may have been violated. Of course, it depends on the specifics of your agreement, which is why these agreements need to be carefully tailored to your set of circumstances. You’ll also need to show how the breach of this agreement has affected your business, so make sure you are looking at your finances, reputation, and market share pre- and post-breach.

Employment contracts can be a great way to get top talent while ensuring that they perform to your expectations. While these contracts are often breached in some fashion, no one is going to step into your office to say that they have done so. It is up to you, in many respects, to ensure that you are protecting your business and your interests. Therefore, you need to carefully negotiate and draft these contracts, police their terms while they are in effect, and monitor any lingering duties post-employment.

If you suspect that breach of an employment contract has occurred, or you are accused of breaching an employee’s contract, then you might want to discuss your case with an experienced business law firm that knows how to fight for you.

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