Florida employment agreements should include essential terms such as the compensation rate, benefits, contract termination options for both parties, the scope of work, and other details. Writing an effective Florida employment agreement is critical to helping limit your business’s liability and creating a productive workforce. After all, the employment agreement forms the foundation of your company’s relationship with its workers. If worded correctly, the document can inform and empower both parties. If written ineffectively, it can lead to unnecessary legal battles.
The business attorneys at BrewerLong provide legal counsel to employers throughout Florida. The team understands how important it is for employers to create common-sense policies that protect their bottom line and encourage a productive workforce. The attorneys at BrewerLong welcome the opportunity to help businesses survive and thrive in today’s competitive market. Reach out to speak with a Florida business attorney.
What Should I Include in a Florida Employment Agreement?
When writing an employment agreement, some provisions of particular importance include the employee’s compensation, the preferred manner of terminating the contract, and the work the employee is to perform. Likewise, restrictive covenants such as confidentiality and non-compete clauses help clarify the employment relationship and expectations. After all, you don’t want your employee to exploit your protected business secrets.
The Employee’s Compensation
The first item to include in the contract is a description of the employee’s compensation. Be very clear about the total salary (if applicable) or rate of pay (such as hourly, on commission, or per project). Also, explain how the employee receives payment for their services and whom they can contact about questions concerning wages. If the employee receives benefits or may be eligible for bonuses, explain those details or indicate where the employee can find the information. Finally, describe how and when raises are determined.
How and When the Parties Can Terminate the Agreement
The contract should explain how and when either party can terminate the contract. For example, if there are specific requirements on what the employee must do to continue employment, detail these conditions. If the agreement is at will and therefore terminable by either party for any reason, clearly state this. This must be clear. Ambiguities in this clause may result in a disgruntled employee filing a wrongful termination suit.
The Scope of Work
An effective agreement details the work the employee must perform during the course of employment. You can be specific here, but this may not be beneficial. If you include too many details, the employee may be confused about their role or protest if you expand their role to include other tasks. The best practice may be to generalize here to avoid misunderstandings.
Restrictions on the Employee’s Ability to Work for Competitors
Another critical term for an effective Florida employment agreement is a restrictive covenant, which restricts the employee’s ability to work for competitors. In most cases, the contract should include restrictions on the employee’s ability to work for competitors during and after employment with your company. Under Florida law, these types of restrictive covenants are generally permissible if they are reasonable in duration and scope.
You can include this non-compete agreement in the employment contract or present it as part of the onboarding document bundle. The most important aspect to remember is that most Florida courts require the document to be signed at the onset of a new employment relationship to be binding. For example, a new employee might sign this as a condition of employment. Or an existing employee may sign it as a condition of a promotion. If you have questions about the timing and phrasing of this agreement, contact an experienced business law attorney.
The employment agreement should also include a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement. The purpose of this provision is to protect your trade secrets and proprietary methods of operating your business while also allowing your employee to do their job. A good non-disclosure agreement typically defines what is secret and says explicitly what the employee can or cannot do with the information. At the same time, the contract should be broad enough to encompass a variety of activities to ensure you are protected.
The Applicable Law and What Happens if the Parties Disagree
Finally, the Florida employment contract should explain what state law applies and what happens if the parties disagree. When disputes arise, most employers want to participate in arbitration rather than allow the parties to file a lawsuit. This protects the company’s reputation and gives the employer an advantage (in most cases). The agreement can also require the employee to waive their right to a jury trial, which is helpful for most employers.
BrewerLong Can Help You Write an Employment Agreement in Florida
Drafting a practical and effective employment contract is vital to protect your business. When disputes arise, the parties will turn to the agreement for answers. Our team can help you start on the right track by crafting an arrangement that fits your situation and budget.
Kara Groves helps entrepreneurs start and run their companies. Her law practice focuses on highly-regulated agricultural and craft beverage-related businesses. If you have questions about writing an employment contract in Florida, contact our team today to schedule a consultation.
This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on this blog post, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages. You agree to use this blog post at your own risk. Regarding your particular circumstances, we recommend that you consult your own legal counsel–hopefully BrewerLong.