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What you should know before signing an employment contract

Employment contracts exist for good reason. When well-planned and complied with, these contracts protect the rights of employees and employers alike. Over the decades, Florida has become a thriving business center with more and more employers using employment contracts to secure good workers.

In most cases, these contracts benefit the employee as much as the employer. They can clearly outline the expected duties of the worker; they specify wage and hour requirements; and they often include severance package information in case of unexpected termination. However, before agreeing to sign an employment contract it is crucial for Florida workers to make sure the document protects their interests.

Employment contracts can contain elements that may sound harmless but can cause trouble for the employee down the road. Some of the contract elements that should be carefully considered include:

-- Best efforts provisions: These usually mean that the employee will agree to perform the required work as best as possible. However, what if your employer's vision of your best efforts turns out to be unreasonable? You might find yourself looking for new employment.

-- No additional compensation provisions: In many cases, this provision will not be a source of friction. With that said, you might find yourself in the position of doing more work than you expected for no additional pay.

-- Arbitration provisions: The provision means both parties will resolve employment disputes outside of the law. However, sometimes the dispute is so egregious that a courtroom resolution may be the only way to truly solve the problem. Signing a contract with this clause can tie an employee's hands significantly.

These examples represent just a few of the contract provisions that may or may not lead to trouble later on. Rather than signing the employment contract with little to no consideration, it is beneficial for employees to have an employment attorney review the document and offer advice.

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