What Terms Should Be In My Employment Contract/ Offer Letter? Can I Have it Reviewed and Negotiated?


Employees who have received an Employment Contract or an Offer Letter should have it reviewed by an attorney before signing it and accepting the terms within. While most people are concerned that any delay in signing and returning an Offer Letter and/or Employment Contract can result in the loss of the job, it may be detrimental to you quickly sign the document and not to fully understand the relation that you are entering into, more specifically – the obligations you may be agreeing to and the rewards that may or may not be within the document you are signing. It is also important to remember that you are considered valuable at the time an offer is being extended to you and this is the best time to maximize on your value.

Before signing an Offer Letter and/or an Employment Contract, these are some points to think about:

·     Will you be an “at will” employee (meaning that you can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, so long as the reason does not violate the law) or are you being hired for a set period of time (i.e. 1 year);

·     Does the document include your title, work location, or who you will report to?

·     Are you being offered a “guaranteed” or “discretionary” bonus and if a “guaranteed” bonus is it truly guaranteed?

·     What benefits/ perks will you be receiving? Are these the same as other employees in similar positions?

·     Are there any other documents and/or policies and/or handbooks that are incorporated by reference into this document and if so, have you received copies of these items for your review.

·     Will you have to sign a non-compete agreement, confidentiality agreement, workplace invention agreement, etc.

·     Are you to receive equity or stock and if so when, do they need to be approved by the Board or others, and did you receive a copy of the plan documents?

·     Are you relocating for the position and if so, are the terms of the relocation set forth in the document or will you be receiving another agreement detailing the specific understandings you have reached; and, 

·     Does the document say what happens if you are terminated with or without cause? Can you resign for “Good Reason”? Will you receive any severance?

Aside from the above items, there are other factors to be contemplated. For example, if you are presently employed, when is the proper time to give notice of your resignation to your current employer? Also, are there any restrictions on your future employment that would prevent you from taking this new position? And if you have restrictions, have these been disclosed to the prospective employer?

Donath Law, LLC can assist you in reviewing the necessary documents to protect you on the way into your new employment and at the same time review any documents that you may have signed at your current or former employer to make sure you understand your rights and obligations on the way out. Donath Law, LLC also understands that this process is timely and any Offer Letter and/or Employment Contract must be reviewed and responded to promptly. As such, Donath Law, LLC is available in the evenings and weekends to make sure that you can promptly respond to the prospective employer.

Additionally, Donath Law, LLC is available to assist you during the negotiation process (either directly or in a counseling capacity) with a prospective employer so that you may raise the necessary points in the discussion phase and prior to your receipt of any agreement you believe is on its way.

If you are interested in these services, please contact Sheree Donath at Sheree@DonathLaw.com or at (516) 804-0274.

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