By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a NJ Employment Law Attorney
Many employees throughout the state of New Jersey are unaware as to what exactly their employment contracts say. When they are hired and given the contract to sign, many individuals simply glance over the document and then sign their name on the dotted line. Some simply turn to the last page and sign. Either way, many employees today are unaware as to the implications this document can have on their future. It is important to read and understand every single part of your employment contract, since your signature effectively promises that you will abide by all of the terms included throughout it.
For those that are unaware with New Jersey law pertaining to contracts, a contract is considered a legally binding document. This means that the law binds the parties to the terms of the agreement. If there is a dispute between an employer and employee related to an issue that is addressed in the employment contract, the Courts will first look to the contract to see what the parties agreed to. By signing the document, both the employer and employee certify that they agree to the terms contained within. It does not matter if one of the parties did not read the employment contract. If you signed the document, the Courts will hold you to its terms. “I did not read the contract” is NOT a defense that will be considered by the Courts.
As mentioned earlier, employment contracts often have intended results for either an employer or employee who did not read the contract or was not familiar with it’s terms when they signed the contract. In a recent NJ Court case involving a doctor leaving her practice with other doctors, the Court upheld the terms of the employment contract over the objection of the remaining doctors in the practice. The departing doctor wished to no longer work with the other doctors in the practice and wanted to leave the business. However, a dispute arose as to the value of the shares of the departing doctor and whether the remaining doctors would be forced to buy them. The Court looked no further than the employment contract between the parties, which required the remaining partners to buy all departing doctors shares in the business for a specified price and also required the departing doctor not to practice within a certain area of the practice.
Employers know they often have the upper hand when it comes to employment contracts. They create the terms of the contract and employees usually agree to them without any objection, often failing to even read the document. As an employee in New Jersey, you have the right to negotiate parts of an employment contract. Always be sure to read and have your employment contract reviewed by a knowledgeable employment law attorney before you sign it. It can make all the difference.
If you have any questions regarding employment contracts, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, an experienced NJ Employment Attorney today at 855-376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org/. He would be happy to discuss your matter with you.