Embarking on a new job is an exciting chapter, but before you dive into your new role, there’s a crucial document that warrants your attention – the terms of engagement.

In today’s environment, employment contracts are not as common as they once were. With the exception of certain industries or positions, most employers do not require applicants or new hires to sign employment contracts. However, those who are presented with an employment contract should not simply sign on the dotted line. This blog highlights three potentially problematic things to look out for.

  • Arbitration Agreement

Job applicants should be concerned about arbitration agreements for several reasons, as these agreements can significantly impact their rights and the resolution of potential workplace disputes. Arbitration agreements typically require employees to resolve disputes through private arbitration rather than through the court system. This limits an employee’s access to the legal system, as they waive their right to file a lawsuit in court. Arbitration is basically a way to resolve claims without the benefit of certain rights, which the law affords otherwise. More often than not, this means that the employee is waiving their Constitutional right to have any dispute resolved by a jury of his or her peers.

  • Confidentiality Clause

Confidentiality agreements may restrict an employee’s ability to discuss their work or share certain skills and experiences with potential future employers. This limitation can hinder career mobility and make it more challenging for employees to pursue new opportunities or negotiate better terms in future job offers. Some confidentiality clauses may prevent employees from discussing workplace conditions or terms of employment with their colleagues. This limitation can impede the ability of employees to collectively address common concerns or negotiate for better working conditions, as it restricts their ability to share information and organize.

  • Non-Compete Clause

California courts have consistently confirmed that California has a strong public policy to ensure that citizens retain the right to pursue any lawful employment and enterprise of their choice. The interests of employees in their own mobility and betterment are deemed paramount to the competitive business interests of employers, where neither the employee nor his or her new employer has committed any illegal act accompanying the employment change. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is not uncommon to find non-compete agreements within new hire contracts.

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