Drafting employment agreements in Florida can be either incredibly difficult or incredibly easy, depending on whether you choose to do it yourself or hire an experienced Florida Employment Lawyer to take care of everything.
Working with a lawyer when creating employment agreements is not only advisable because it allows you to turn the process into a walk in the park but also because it can keep you out of legal trouble. Making a mistake when drafting this type of agreement can be astonishingly easy, and even the tiniest mistake can have severe consequences.
However, although you should definitely hire an experienced lawyer and let them take care of the heavy lifting, you should still do your homework and make sure you understand how your employment agreements work, how they protect your employees, and how they protect you and your business. That is precisely what you will find in this article. Read on to learn what you need to know about drafting employment agreements in Florida.
Florida is What is Known as an “At-Will” State
The first thing you need to know to understand how employment agreements work in Florida is that employment in the Sunshine State is considered “at-will” unless there is a written employment agreement signed by an employer and an employee. The term “at-will” essentially means that employers can legally terminate employees for any reason, or even for no reason at all.
The only exception to this rule are cases of wrongful termination where an employer fires an employee for reasons the law specifically considers impermissible. Florida employers can sidestep at-will employment by simply entering into written employment agreements with their employees.
Drafting Employment Agreements in Florida – What You Need to Include
In the Sunshine State, employment agreements can consist of whatever information and terms the parties choose to include. However, every employment agreement in Florida should include:
- The start date;
- Details regarding compensation, including bonuses;
- Work schedule; and
- Benefits such as vacation, holidays, sick time, etc.
In addition to these essential things, other items commonly appear in most employment agreements in Florida. These additional items, which we will describe below, are slightly more complex, so this is where the help of an experienced Florida Employment Lawyer comes into play.
A big concern of most business owners who have employees is the protection of their confidential information. Because of this, most employment agreements in Florida include clauses created specifically to protect this confidential information. Such clauses, however, have limitations you should know about. Information that is not unique or private enough may not fall under the protection of these clauses.
Conditions of Termination
When drafting employment agreements in Florida, another common item you should make sure to include are your conditions of termination. Although employment agreements may remove the default “at-will status” of an employee, that does not render termination impossible. Keeping track of poor performance, potential violations, or other offenses that could be a reason for termination can help protect both yourself and your business.
Alternatively, you may include a fixed time of employment in your employment agreements so employment automatically expires after a certain period. If you have concerns about having stable and consistent employees, you should be particularly careful when creating this type of clause.
Non-compete clauses are also extremely common in employment agreements in Florida. These clauses essentially prevent former employees of a company from starting their own companies in the same industry or working for a competitor within a certain timeframe. In order to be enforceable, however, these clauses must not be overly restrictive, so drafting them with the help of an experienced lawyer is vital.
Contact a Top Florida Employment Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
There are many other items commonly found in employment agreements in Florida. This article is just a brief overview; however, it should give you a sense of the complexity of employment agreements. If you need to create an employment agreement but do not know where to start, contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0440 or by emailing Romy@jflawfirm.com.