Having an employment contract might make you feel as if you have some job security, but sometimes employers sneak provisions into employment agreements that violate the law. You might feel stuck by those terms if you sign the contract, even if Washington law would not enforce those items.
You should have an attorney review your employment contract before you sign it. A Washington employment attorney can protect your rights and help negotiate a fair agreement.
Here are some terms that your attorney will look for in your employment contract:
Wage and Hour Laws
Sometimes employers try to circumvent Washington wage and hour laws, including the payment of overtime wages. Even if an employee signs such a document, the agreement is not enforceable.
An employer is allowed to require drug testing of employees, but state law imposes some restrictions. If an employer only targets a certain category of employees who have protected status, such as race, religion, gender, etc., the drug testing may be illegal even if the employee agreed to it.
New Washington Laws on Non-Compete Clauses and Side Gigs
For several decades, employers have inserted non-competition provisions into employment contracts. Over time, these clauses morphed into overly broad and onerous restrictions on employees. For example, a person making $30,000 a year might be prohibited from working within a 100-mile radius of a former employer. In addition, some employers would not allow employees to work second jobs to supplement their income.
The Washington legislature determined that employers applied overbroad restrictions and subjected employees to economic hardship without valid justification because non-competes are intended to protect a company’s trade secrets and proprietary information. The vast majority of workers do not have access to such trade secrets or proprietary information.
Safe Workplace Waivers
Some employers try to skirt around liability when a worker gets hurt because of an unsafe workplace. It is illegal for a company to require you to sign a contract that waives your right to sue your boss if you get hurt on the job because of conditions that violate safe workplace regulations.
Although you might feel uncomfortable confronting your employer about potentially illegal or unenforceable provisions in an employment contract, you have rights that should not be violated. We can help protect you. Get in touch with our office today.