“It’s possibly the worst fraud in workplace law”
Those were the words of employment lawyer Daniel Lublin in a recent column entitled “Be wary when signing an employment contract”. What is the fraud that he refers to? If you have ever signed an employment contract, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced it, even if you weren’t aware it was happening.
Employees often sign contracts that can limit their rights and severance without even knowing it. An imbalance of power and resources usually leads to one-sided and infamously employer-friendly negotiations. Lublin tells the tale of a nameless woman who may find this out the hard way.
The woman was asked to sign a contract confirming her employment. Several years later, she was fired and offered much less than someone of her age and seniority would expect. Why? Years ago, she had unknowingly signed a contract that limited the amount she could potentially receive. Although this fact may not determine her case, Lublin says that it would be much stronger had she never signed the contract. He also reminds employees that they need not sign a written contract to protect their rights – this unnecessary step of “confirming” an existing relationship can often amend it to an employee’s detriment.
There are several red flags to watch for when signing a contract that you can read about *here* and *here*. In another article *here*, Lublin provides five helpful pointers that will ensure you get the most out of the next contract you sign.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms of contracts or contact a lawyer to help you do so.