As employment lawyers, we understand the difficulties that employers face ensuring that employees act in the best interests of a business.
There are usually four reasons that problems arise:
Benefits of a Well Drafted Employment Contract
As employment contract lawyers, we know that “one size doe not fit all” when it comes to employment contracts.
The benefits of a tailored, professionally drafted and presented employment agreement is that:
We make sure they are also “business-specific”, to ensure the right clauses are included for your circumstances. An employment contract not only protects you as the employer when things go wrong but also prevent many problems from occurring in the first place.
Some of the specific issues that are dealt with in an employment contract that will protect you as an employer are:
Employer confidential information
As a business owner or manager, you’re generally conscious of the enormous amount of time, effort and money expended in training employees and developing their expertise. To see that expertise just walk out the door can be a disaster and as employment lawyers we see it all too often where there are poorly drafted agreements in place or worse still, no written agreement at all. This is why in the drafting process of any employment contract we ensure that employers are protected from employees from taking their valuable expertise elsewhere without permission. This expertise forms part of your confidential business information and can be protected.
The good reputation of your business can be essential to your ongoing success. An employment contract lawyer will include specific clauses into the employment contract that will give you major recourse if an employee damages that reputation after their departure. The more typical benefit of a clause such as this is that it is a huge disincentive to a former employee to even to try, which is ideally what you want.
Restraint of trade
This is often a very important issue. A restraint of trade clause will forbid an employee from working for a competitor or starting/having ownership in a similar type of business in direct competition to your business, at least for a period of time. Drafted properly, and depending upon the role, these clauses are more enforceable than what people often think.
A poorly drafted restraint of trade clause will typically not be enforceable at all. However, a carefully tailored clause will often be very capable of enforcement by a court or act as a proper preventative measure.
When the clause is improperly drafted (and unfortunately there are many “bush lawyer” type contracts out there) there is a real risk that a valuable employee will be “poached” by a rival employer in your industry, not only leaving you with a position to fill, but potentially setting up your competitor with a key person in your business. The result can be devastating at worst, but at the least a very big interruption or setback.
Again, drafted properly, a restraint of trade clause will likely provide a huge disincentive to a key employee (and especially a senior employee) if they are thinking about “jumping ship” to what they perceive to be a greener pasture.
Some other matters that a contract drafted by a good employment lawyer will include are:
By carefully and properly considering of all the above, you as the employer will be firmly in the driver’s seat. Long after the contract is signed you will glad you went to the effort of getting it right. The cost of implementing well drafted and properly tailored employment contracts is typically much less than the obvious commercial damage that can be sustained from a rogue employee.
What can be done if I do not have an employment contract?
If you don’t have a contract, there may still be some common law protections you can rely on. You may also be able to roll out employment contracts across your business for existing and future employees
What if an employee breaches their employment contract?
Contact us immediately.
Sometimes, despite having a well-drafted employment contract regime in place, employees may seek to take the risk anyway and behave improperly. Swift and effective action can be taken to enforce your legal rights. If you have an employment contract in place, we can advise you as to the enforceability of the relevant parts of the contract and what can be done about it.
Such action will usually contain the damage, prevent it from going any further. Compensation can be sought from the offending party or parties. We have assisted employers obtain substantial compensation in the past in relation to restraint of trade breaches and theft of confidential information.
We are employment lawyers who are well experienced in handling employee related disputes as follows:
(a) unfair dismissal
(b) breach of employment contract
(d) constructive dismissal
If you have been served with documents, you need to act quickly. We have the ability to sort and assimilate substantial factual material quickly that results in competent responses to allegations from employee allegations.
We Are Here to Help
Please contact us if you have questions in relation to the issues above or any other employment matter. We can be contacted on 1300 907 335 or by completing the contact form on this page.