Why you Should Have a Lawyer Review your Employment Contract

by | Oct 22, 2014 | For Employees

You have been offered a new job. You are excited about it. The offer letter seems fair and you are eager to start the position.  Why should you pay a lawyer to look over this employment contract?

Fast forward ten years. Your company is going through restructuring and you are now out of work. What that document said ten years earlier can dramatically affect your rights and entitlements when your employment ends.

Assessing an Employment Contract

The language of employment contracts is often technical and legal. It may sound fair and reasonable, but it may not be.

An Example

We often see employment contracts that state something like:  “Should your employment be terminated by the company without cause, you will be provided notice, or pay in lieu of notice, in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.” That sounds fair, right? The company is setting out that it will follow the law if it terminates you.

The problem is that this type of termination clause significantly limits an employee’s rights at termination.

In the scenario above, an employee who had a clause like this and had worked for the company for 10 years would be entitled to eight weeks’ notice of termination under the Employment Standards Act with an additional 10 weeks’ severance pay if the employer has a payroll of at least $2.5 million or more. If that clause was not in the employment contract, the employee would generally be entitled to between nine and 12 months’ reasonable notice of termination, or pay instead of this notice. If the employee was earning $52,000 a year, the difference in termination pay could be as much as $44,000.

This is only one example of the types of clauses found in an employment contract which appear reasonable but may dramatically affect your rights.

It usually takes one of our lawyers about an hour to review an employment contract and provide you with our comments. This investment can result in changes to the initial offer letter that benefit you.

If you are already working, or have been terminated, you can review our other blogs on wrongful dismissal and your other employment rights here.

If you have been asked to sign an employment contract, and you want to speak with an employment lawyer with experience in this area, contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-204-8107 (within the GTA).

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.



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