Employment contract negotiation and disputes

Need Help with your employment contract?

If you need help negotiating a new contract or are concerned about your employment contract, call us.   WorkLegal has the experience and skills to advise you about acceptable terms for your employment contract and how to protect you if your rights are threatened. 

Negotiating an employment contract?

It is essential to carefully check the terms of an employment contract that is being offered to you and “negotiate out” any unacceptable terms, as your bargaining position is always stronger before you sign a contract.

Contracts for executive, professional and other senior roles are especially sensitive as those positions usually do not have the protection of a modern award safety net and are often not covered by fair dismissal law.

Some of the terms that may need special consideration are:

  • the salary package and how it is structured;
  • security of employment, termination events and length of termination notice;
  • benefits;
  • restraints that may limit your work options after the employment ends;
  • costs of relocation and executive training and claw backs reserved by the employer;
  • restraint of trade clauses by which the employer seeks to restrain your job opportunities, work types or business pursuits after the employment ends.

Employment Contract Review Service

Call us to arrange a fixed fee review of your employment contract.  We will review it, have a meeting with you to discuss the outcomes of the review, and send you a summary of issues and recommended actions.  We can then also assist with how to communicate the changes you need to see and the changes that can be made to suit all parties.

Issues with your current employment contract?

Where a breach of contract may be involved, it is essential to unpack the history around what has happened and take positive action to protect your rights.

Where an employer is attempting to enforce a right of recovery under a contract – eg recovering the costs of relocation costs – the wording of the employment contract clause is important as well as provisions of the Fair Work Act designed to prohibit unfair and unreasonable contractual clauses.

Where your employment contract includes a restraint of trade provision, it is essential to carefully assess the enforceability of the clause.  It is essential that you know where you stand, as a properly worded restraint can significantly limit your career options.  Also, not all employment restraints are enforceable, and a court may not enforce an unnecessarily restrictive clause that the employer has no legitimate business interest to impose. 

We always recommend that you take advice before a problem arises, and you should contact us without delay if you are concerned about an employment contract issue.

For longstanding experience and help when you need it, Contact WorkLegal today.

Concerned about a potential employment contract negotiation or dispute? Contact us for early advice.

1300 223 398

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Case Study – Unreasonable claw back clauses

Thomas applies for a position as a coal miner with a labour hire contractor to mine sites.  He does not yet have a coal board medical and his employer sends him to the company doctor for that.  The company pays for the costs of the medical.

Three months later he is made redundant due to de-manning by the mine site at which he was placed. A week later he is surprised to receive a letter from the employer demanding that he pay back the cost of the coal board medical.  He reads his employment contract and notices a clause authorising the employer to demand repayment of the costs of the coal board medical if the employment ends of any reason within 6 months of commencement.

Thomas wisely decides to get advice before paying the money back.  His experienced lawyer advises him about the legislative duty in coal mining safety law for employers to pay for the costs of coal board medicals, and assists Thomas to write a letter to the employer explaining why the repayment demand should be withdrawn. 

Case Study – Restraint of Trade

Daniela is an up-and-coming accountant and is thrilled when a multi-national accounting firm accepts her employment application.  She will have to relocate to take up the job and the company will pay for her relocation costs.  She is emailed a lengthy employment agreement which she reads quickly.  Daniela shares her good news with a friend over a coffee.  Her friend is happy for Daniela but recommends she has the employment contract checked.

Her employment lawyer reads the contract carefully and notices some things that Daniela had overlooked:

  • The relocation clause – The fine print includes an obligation for Daniela to repay the relocation costs if the employment ends within the 12 months for any reason. Her lawyer explains the clause has the effect of saying that Daniela must repay the costs even if she is unfairly terminated or made redundant.
  • The restraint clause –The contract includes a lengthy restraint clause under a heading “Business Protection”. Her lawyer explains the clause places various limitations on what she can do after the employment ends that Daniela should think through before signing up.  Daniela has some existing clients that she wants to bring with her to the practice.  Her lawyer points out that the restraint does not exclude those clients, and the employer could try to prohibit her from providing services to those clients if the employment ends.
  • The termination notice – The employment contract only has a 1 week termination notice period even though Daniela has to relocate to a new city to take up the position and re-establish herself there.

With advice from her lawyer Daniela negotiates those and other issues to a mutually satisfactory outcome and Daniela is thrilled to start packing to move for her new opportunity.

Need help?

Don’t leave it too late. Wherever you are in Australia we can help.

Telephone

Call us for a no-obligation chat to assess if we can assist you:

1300 223 398

Email

Email us with details about your situation and we will reply soon.

Address

Office: 155 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes, QLD 4217

Based in Gold Coast Queensland, we assist our valued clients wherever they are in Australia.