Many employers finalize a job offer by writing a contract and having the new employee sign it. This can be a useful way to identify each person’s rights and responsibilities. However, the contracts provided are often geared towards protecting and benefiting the employer, and not to safeguard the rights of workers. That is why those who are searching for new jobs feel empowered to take action or deny a job offer if something just doesn’t feel right. Here are four common red flags that you must watch out for when starting employment with a new company:
#1 Too Broad of Non-Compete Clauses
In most states, a non-compete clause is enforceable against a worker as long as it is reasonable. Some states have completely banned non-compete clauses entirely. To provide an example, consider this scenario: a seller of a business, former partner, or former LLC member may be prohibited from competing with a business once he or she leaves the company. Employees may be prohibited from using trade secrets.
#2 Unilateral Provisions
Breaching a contract is a primary issue in employment contracts, but it’s not the only thing that can go wrong. The contract in itself may have been one-sided, which doesn’t set up the other for success. Keep in mind that an employer will draft a contract so that their own interests are protected, and not yours. Be wary of provisions that impose extra responsibilities of the employee that don’t seem appropriate. If your gut is telling you it’s not right, then it probably isn’t.
#3 Ownership of Intellectual Property
It is worth noting that employers are entitled to intellectual property ownership permitting it is created with company resources and company time. But it isn’t uncommon for workers to be in the same field that is similar to their hobbies or projects. If these ideas are unrelated to those developed from the employer, then they should remain in the ownership of that person and not the company. If an employer tries to enforce rules that what you develop during off-time is also considered company ownership, that may be infringing on your legal protections.