Employment contracts

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Employment contracts basically outline both your and your employer's legal rights and responsibilities in an employment relationship. Some employment contracts can be lengthy, complicated documents detailing job duties, salary information, stock options, and employee benefits. Other contracts may be verbal and sealed with a handshake. The contents of an employment contract will usually depend on the specific needs of a company and the employee. When a verbal or written contract doesn't specify the length of employment, the employment relationship is usually considered 'at will,' and thus enables either party to terminate the employment as they please, at any time. It's important to remember that regardless of how an employment contract is made, it's considered a legally binding agreement. Thus, your failure to live up to the obligations understood in the contract can lead to discipline or eventual termination. Likewise, employers must fulfill their employment obligations as well or be subject to legal consequences. In addition to the employment contract, most employers will also be obligated to comply with federal and state labor laws regarding wages, discrimination, sexual harassment, safety standards, medical and family leave time, and workers' and unemployment compensation. All in all, the goal of all employment contracts should be to state the terms and conditions of an employment relationship clearly. An employment contract that's well executed can provide considerable peace of mind for both you and your employer and enable both parties to concentrate on the work at hand.

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