Getting a new job can be the start of an exciting chapter in your career. However, if the employer wants you to sign an employment contract, proceed with caution. Specific clauses could create problems that compromise your career, future opportunities and rights.
Restrictions on your future employment
An employer may wish to protect themselves against loss of valuable information when employees depart the company. Thus, they may want to restrict your activities if the employment relationship ends. They could do this by including the following in a contract:
- Non-solicitation clauses
- Noncompete agreements
- Confidentiality provisions
- Non-disparagement agreements
These provisions can prohibit you from working in specific capacities, making specific statements or working with specific parties.
Before signing any contract with these terms, be sure you understand what they will actually mean for you. If they seem unreasonable or you do not want to be subject to the terms, you may want to negotiate changes or reconsider accepting the job offer.
Claiming ownership of your work
You might be creating intellectual property like logos, inventions or software in your new role. While you may be the one making these products and services, your employer could claim themselves as the owner with contractual agreements.
If this is not something you are prepared to give up, again, you can negotiate. You could ask for specific exclusions (such as creations unrelated to your employment) or additional compensation in exchange for ownership.
Control over life outside of work
Depending on the type of work you will be doing and who the employer is, you may see clauses in a contract that affect your personal choices outside of work.
These provisions could come in the form of:
- Morals clauses
- Social media policies
- Prohibiting second jobs
- Policies regarding the use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco
These clauses can affect what you do and say outside of work, with which you may not agree. In that case, signing a contract with those restrictions may not be in your best interests. That said, depending on how these clauses are written, they may not even be enforceable.
Being mindful of these clauses can help you avoid signing something you don’t agree with or do not intend to comply with.