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Contracts

So you think you have an employment contract?  The reality of today's employment market is that you probably don't.  The overwhelming majority of workers today, both nationally and in New Jersey, are employed "at will."  This means that both the employer and employee are free to end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason that is not unlawful (discrimination, etc.), or for no reason at all. As a general proposition, the people who have employment contracts these days are highly placed and highly paid executives, professionals such as doctors, and as everyone knows, professional athletes and coaches.

We have to understand what we're talking about when we speak of "contracts."  We are using the term to mean written agreements in which a company agrees to employee a person on agreed terms for a stated period of time.  Thus, the new President of corporate behemoth Blunderbuss Inc. may get a contract for five years at an annual salary of $10 million, plus stock options and other benefits.  That's the kind of contract we're talking about here.  If the Board of Directors of Blunderbuss decides after one year that they want to fire their new President they can do it, but, all other things being equal, they will owe him four years of compensation and thus have to be willing to write a check for $40 million. 

Not many of us find ourselves in this situation.  We live in a world where we can quit or be fired in an instant.  Despite this, there are ways in which employment-related contracts affect many of our lives and it is important to know about them and understand how they work.  These include non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality, implied contracts, and severance agreements.  Each of these is treated separately on our website, so we urge you to go to their pages for more information.

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