Signing employee contractThis is the first post in a series which will discuss the importance of employee contracts for Olympia and Tacoma, Washington businesses Many small business owners do not recognize the importance of having a properly drafted agreement with their employees. Instead, many rely on “form” contracts which they find through various online services or don’t have one at all. Using a “one size fits all” document can have surprising and negative consequences down the road, while having no contract with critical or core employees exposes businesses to other risks. The goal of my coming articles is to provide information which will help employers to understand all of their options. It is also my goal to provide information which will help entrepreneurs to make an informed decision when they are selecting a business law lawyer. If you require assistance, contact my office today to speak with an attorney.

I will be addressing several topics over the course of my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:

  • The need for employers to have a written contract with their employees
  • How companies can protect themselves from claims of wrongful termination
  • How companies can protect themselves against liability to third parties
  • The need to protect company trade secrets
  • How a company can protect itself against competition from others through an employment contract

These are topics every employer should consider.  Employers open themselves up to problems and uncertainties if they do not have a valid employment agreement in place with their employees. Further, by clearly defining an employee’s role and by clearly detailing what conduct will be accepted from an employee, a company is less likely to face poor performance issues, discrimination claims, or a wrongful termination suit. Third, companies are generally responsible for an employee’s wrongful actions if they occur while the employee is acting within the scope of employment. A properly written contract can help to limit a company’s liability for an employee’s wrongful acts by defining and limiting the scope of employment. Fourth, if you fail to properly protect your trade secrets then you may find employees are feeding your competition. Finally, covenants not to compete, as well as other restrictions, can help to ensure that your employees do not become your direct competitors or take the training you gave them to your direct competitors.

Any business with skilled employees or business secrets should hire an experienced business law attorney to assist you in the negotiation and drafting of employee contracts. Experienced counsel can help you to consider issues which you may not otherwise have thought of. Such situations can then be covered by the agreement. I am an Olympia lawyer assisting small and medium sized companies with such issues. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.

Our firm also serves the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, Chehalis, the King County cities of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.

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