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New York City Employment Contracts Lawyers

We Help New York City Workers Negotiate Fair Terms With Their Employers

For most New Yorkers, employment is entirely “at-will.” This means you are free to quit your job at any time if you are unhappy. But it also means your employer can fire you at any time without even having to give a reason. Except in cases where the employer’s actions violate federal or local laws–such as employment discrimination–the employee generally has no recourse.

Employment contracts represent an exception to the rule of at-will employment. An employer and employee (or prospective employee) may enter into a legally binding contract that spells out the terms and conditions of employment. In the event of a breach, either side may take legal action to uphold their rights under the contract. Our experienced New York City employment contract lawyers can assist you in this process. Carey & Associates, P.C., represents employees in negotiating contracts with new employers, as well as advising individuals looking to review and re-negotiate their agreements with their current employers. We also assist employees looking to enforce employment contracts in the event of a breach by the employer.

What Makes Up a New York City Employment Contract?

Under New York law, an employment contract does not have to be in writing if the employment relationship is expected to last less than one year. But any contract expected to last beyond one year must be in writing and signed by both the employer and the employee. So even if there is a verbal agreement about the terms and conditions of employment, a written contract is still necessary for either side to have any enforceable rights in New York.

The actual contents of a New York City employment contract is largely left up to the parties. There are no specific terms that must be included. Some of the more common elements of such contracts, however, include:

  • the starting and ending dates of the employee’s employment;
  • the employee’s specific job title and duties;
  • the employee’s work schedule, including provisions for any paid time off, sick leave, or vacation time;
  • the employee’s compensation, including base pay, bonuses, benefits, stock options, et cetera;
  • disciplinary and grievance procedures, including the grounds for terminating the employee “for cause”‘;
  • the consequences of the employee quitting or ending the employment relationship before the end of the contract; and
  • any restrictive covenants, such as non-compete or non-disclosure agreements.

Non-compete provisions of New York City employment contracts have faced significant legal and judicial scrutiny in recent years. Such restrictive covenants remain valid and enforceable in New York. But they must meet certain legal requirements. For example, a non-compete can only be used to protect a “legitimate business interest” of the employer and must be “reasonable” in its duration and geographic scope.

As with any agreement, a party to an employment contract may file a civil lawsuit to remedy any breach. This means, for instance, that an employee could sue an employer who fired them without cause in violation of their contract. Similarly, an employer could sue an employee who took another job with a competitor in violation of an enforceable non-compete agreement.

Many New York City employers insist on binding arbitration provisions as a part of their employment contracts. Binding arbitration means the employee waives their right to file a lawsuit. Instead, any legal dispute arising under the contract is submitted to an arbitrator selected in accordance with the provisions of the arbitration agreement itself. Employers often favor arbitration because it allows them to keep employment contract disputes private, while employees find their ability to pursue a breach of contract claim substantially more limited.

Federal law generally favors the arbitration of disputes. That said, recent changes in federal and state laws now disfavor using arbitration to settle certain kinds of employment disputes, notably those involving allegations of workplace discrimination and harassment. It is therefore crucial to work with an experienced New York City employment contract lawyer who can advise you on the present state of the law and represent you in any negotiations where an employer insists on binding arbitration as a condition of employment.

Contact Carey & Associates Today

An employment contract can offer you critical protections as a worker in a legal and economic environment that often favors employer interests. But you need to be smart when it comes to negotiating–and enforcing–such agreements. Your first step should be to hire a skilled New York City employment contracts attorney. Call Carey & Associates, P.C., today at (914) 705-5427 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Client Testimonials

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Mark and his team at Carey & Associates are incredibly knowledgeable about Employment Law and have walked me through every step of the way. Their approach and guidance has been extremely effective in dealing with my case. They instill a sense of confidence by laying out the facts, caselaw, and risk assessment to help make well informed decisions. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for an Employment Attorney.


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