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Employment Contracts in an At-Will Employment State

 

Employment ContractClarksville, TN – I am always a little shocked at how little many business owners know about employment contracts, especially employers who have several, or even many, employees.

Many business owners simple assume that, because their business is located in an at-will employment state, a contract for employment is either infeasible or otherwise undesirable. Often, nothing could be further from the truth.

If your business is in an at-will employment state, that, in a nutshell, merely means that the default rule is that an employment relationship can be terminated any time for any reason, as long as you’re not discriminating against a member of a protected class.

Nothing prevents employers from going around this default rule by using employment contracts to structure the nature and attributes of the employment relationship between themselves and their employees. Employment contracts can, in fact, provide distinct benefits and protections to both employee and employer.

Consider a tattoo parlor that employs several tattoo artists, who tend to be highly creative, Type-A individuals. Managing strong personalities in close proximity on a daily basis is a challenge, especially when trying to navigate the troubled waters of conflict resolution. In many ways, managing a business like a tattoo parlor is like managing a band.

Everyone is an artist, each an individual, a beautiful and unique snowflake that must be protected, nurtured, and made to feel special and important, without allowing the creative talent to dominate in business matters. Employment contracts can address the legal risks involved with dealing with intelligent, creative people with strong, Type-A personalities by establishing expectations, responsibilities, and obligations clearly from the beginning of the employment relationship.

The employer has no greater power at any time than at the moment he is considering whether to hire an employee. Making the right decisions the right way at he beginning of the hiring process will have long-lasting and far reaching effects on the quality of the work environment and the nature of the employer-employee relationship as long as the employee hired works for the employer. This is, therefore, the time to consider how best to take care of that relationship and the workplace environment while meeting the needs of the employee.

For many employers, the efforts made to maximize benefit and minimize damage in the hiring process stop at the end of the interview process. Some may require their employees to sign statements acknowledging they understand key company policies. None of these efforts or strategies have the efficacy an employment contract has.

Employers balk at employment contracts, in some cases, because they mistakenly believe employment contracts are too rigid, expensive, or unwieldy to implement and maintain. If that was ever true, it is longer the case. As the costs of hiring (and firing) employees has dramatically risen in recent years, making costly mistakes in the hiring process has become a make-or-break issue for businesses, especially small businesses.

Having an attorney draft and manage an employment contract for your business can be an affordable way to reduce the risk to your business that comes from the hiring (or firing) process.

Executive Legal Professionals offers both employment contract drafting and employment contract management services for flat monthly rates with several packages of legal services that can be customized to fit the needs of your business. Call ELP today at 615.669.6566 for a no-risk, no obligation consultation.

NOTICE: The opinions and ideas expressed in this article are solely the opinions of the author, and may not necessarily reflect the views of the website on which they have been published. Nothing in this article should be construed to be “legal advice.” No attorney-client relationship results from the consumption of this media material. Please contact an attorney if you need legal counsel.


About Noel R. Bagwell, III, Esq.

    Noel R. Bagwell, III, Esq.

    Noel R. Bagwell, III, Esq. is an attorney and the founder of Executive Legal Professionals a small business Legal Services firm serving entrepreneurs and businesses in Tennessee.

    Noel is also the Leader for the Start-Up Entrepreneurship and Small Business Legal Issues Aspects of Practice for the National Center of Preventive Law.

    A graduate of Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, Noel distinguished himself by earning the 2010 Scholar of Merit award for his academic performance in Economic Analysis of Law.

    After law school, Noel opened a general practice law firm in Clarksville Tennessee, a wonderful town just down the road from Nashville, Tennessee; and soon after founded Executive Legal Professionals to focus on providing ongoing and á la carte legal services to entrepreneurs and businesses for flat monthly rates.

    NOTICE: The opinions and ideas expressed in this article are solely the opinions of the author, and may not necessarily reflect the views of the website on which they have been published. Nothing in this article should be construed to be “legal advice.” No attorney-client relationship results from the consumption of this media material. Please contact an attorney if you need legal counsel.

    This article was written by Noel Bagwell for ClarksvilleOnline.com, and is intended only to inform the general public of the author’s opinion. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of any government agency, company, corporation, or individual.

    Web Site: http://www.ExecutiveLP.com/
    Email: law@noelbagwell.com

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