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What to look for in Florida employment contracts before signing

Employment contracts are becoming increasingly popular in Miami and other Florida cities. Typically drafted to protect both parties, these contracts often have important provisions that could impact employees. While it is pretty easy to spot something unusual or potentially harmful, it is what is missing that might be the most detrimental. Most people are excited when an attractive job opportunity comes their way; however, caution is always a good idea before putting your name on a legally binding document.

Most employee contracts contain fairly common elements such as non-compete clauses, termination of employment instructions and clauses addressing how employment disputes will be handled. These are generally fair to both the employer and the employee. They provide a written outline of how certain matters will be handled. This takes the guesswork out of some of the most contentious areas of employment law.

To make sure you are well-protected as an employee, a solid contract should also provide detailed information about the following issues.

-- Exclusivity clauses: Sometimes employers do not want their workers to hold second jobs. Unless it is a non-issue for you, look for exclusion clauses in your contract.

-- Employment responsibilities: Often, the details are missing. You will benefit from knowing what is reasonably expected of you.

-- Employment benefits: This is another area that is sometimes vague in a contract. The more detailed the benefit package is, the better for you as a potential employee.

-- Ownership clauses: Anytime the creation of property (art, writing, inventions, etc.) is involved in the job, look for ownership clauses detailing who will retain ownership of the property.

-- Additional compensation clauses: Some employment contracts state that a worker will not receive additional compensation upon promotion. Make sure you look carefully at any provisions addressing promotions.

If you know very little about how employment contracts work, you might consider having an attorney look over the document before signing. A lawyer can also assist you if you believe your employer has breached an existing contract.

Source: FindLaw, "Employment Contract Provisions," accessed May 05, 2016

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