You have submitted your job application. Gone through the interview process. Waited eagerly to hear back from your potential employer. And now, you have finally received your job offer! Surely, you must be ecstatic, especially if it’s a job you really want. It will be very easy to simply accept the offer and move on with your life.
So, now what? To begin with, don’t sign it until you thoroughly review it and obtain legal advice. Remember that this is a legal document, drafted by the employer presumably for their benefit. It can dramatically impact your rights.
First, carefully read and understand what the job offer states. Don’t assume it is “standard”, or “must be fair”. Does it offer you what you are entitled to? Does it outline in detail your overall compensation, including salary, commissions or bonuses, benefits and any other perks?
Second, review all of the terms with an Employment Lawyer before you sign the employment contract. Otherwise, you may be signing away your rights, which may not seem like an issue at the moment but will undoubtedly come back to haunt you in the future. Unfortunately, it is all too common for us to meet with an individual who has recently been dismissed and is baffled by the minimal severance they have been offered, and we have the unfortunate duty of advising them that this is because of the contract they agreed to when they were hired.
In addition, you want to ensure that the terms and conditions in the contract are in line with your expectations and your verbal discussions with the employer. If you are expecting a bonus, certain compensation, the flexibility to work from home, or anything else, ensure that is confirmed in the contract. This is particularly important because most contracts include an “entire agreement” clause which means that unless it is stated in the contract, it is not part of your agreement – any other discussions or agreements are meaningless. Even if you have a separate email message confirming a signing bonus, or that you can work from home two days each week, you will probably not be able to enforce it.
At Rudner Law, we regularly review varied contractual agreements and provide advice to individuals like you before they unknowingly sign away their rights and entitlements. We will:
- review all the terms of your contract, even some that may outlast your term of employment, such as non-competition and non-solicitation clauses;
- make sure you understand them, and
- help you understand the consequences of each one.
We will then work with you to develop an effective strategy for negotiating any terms that you should not accept. Where appropriate, we will negotiate directly with the employer or their counsel.
At the end of the day, you will either end up with a better contract, understand enough to reject a bad contract, or at the very least, enter into a contract knowing the impact on your legal rights.