Beware Signing of Employment Agreements

by Robert John Stevens, May 24, 2019

Here are just a few of the issues that keep me from signing employment, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements:

1. “At-will employment” — The company’s agreement says they have the right to fire you anytime, without a reason and without penalty but they don’t mention or deny you the same right to quit without penalty.

2. Future disclosures — they may require you to disclose to them whatever you work on for future employers which disables your ability to sign and abide by future confidentiality agreements.

3. Legal Expenses — Whatever they charge you with, you are required to bear the financial burden of their legal expenses.

4. Transfer of all your IP — past, present and/or future. Whatever you discover, built, or build for them during our outside of work, at school or afterwards is automatically transferred to them. Had the Google or Facebook founders signed such a legal document, surely they would have been later sued.

5. Legal verbiage — There are many legal phrases and terms that you may not recognize including “at-will employment” and “work for hire.” Don’t assume you’ll recognize those terms.

6. Carefully written verbiage designed to deceive.

7. Non compete — Required adherence to not work for their clients and partners without listing who they are.

If they won’t send you the documents they require you to sign then they are hiding something so don’t put yourself and family in jeopardy.

They may say after you accept the job you can read the documents while signing them but under that pressure will you really walk away from a bad contract?

Ask them if they will work directly with your lawyer and send your lawyer all the documents. If they won’t do that then forget it–there are plenty of jobs available. Don’t ruin your life.

Of course you hope you discover or invent something at school or outside of work that you can benefit from. Work towards that and prosper.

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