Understanding Employment Contract: Protection from Employer

Just landed a new job? That’s great news! As you take a leap in your career, it’s normal to feel excited about the rewards and opportunities that will come your way. Whether you’re entering as a fresh hire or being promoted in your organization, you’ll need to read the fine print of your contract before you officially sign and commit.
No matter what document it may be, it’s particularly important to read what you are signing. While it may not seem likely, a breach of contract may happen and threaten your well-being in the office, so understanding what you’re getting into is necessary.
Being aware of your contract’s details is also vital for your security and safety since employer misbehavior can be backed up by the agreement you’ve signed. To protect your rights as an employee, the guide below will tell you everything you need to know about the employment contract.

Infographic guide to understanding the employment contract


Parts of an Employment Contract

The first step to utilizing your employment contract is to understand the terms it contains. To easily identify breaches and other misdemeanors, take note of the different parts of the agreement.

1. Position – Indicates an employee’s role in the organization and provides a full description of the duties. This part also indicates where you will be conducting work and how long your shifts will be. The terms must be free from ambiguity and communicated in a straightforward manner.

2. Length of Agreement – States the employee’s duration of employment after he/she has been hired. It also establishes the employer’s right to extend, shorten, or terminate the contract.

3. Performance Expectations and Requirements – Sets the necessary benchmarks that will hold employees accountable for their performance. This helps employers ensure that new hires stay productive and improve over time. Not meeting the required criteria can be a reason for termination.

4. Compensation and Method of Calculation – Determines how much an employee will be paid based on specific calculations. It indicates whether work rendered beyond hours will be compensated through overtime pay or whether night premiums will be provided. It also discusses the employer’s preferred mode of compensation, whether through monthly salary or commission.

5. Benefits and Premiums – Contains all the non-cash components of your payment system. This part contains all the health benefits, insurance plans, and entitled leaves. It also clarifies the premiums employees have to pay to avail of certain coverages.

6. Termination and Severance – Dictates what will happen when a person’s employment ceases. It carefully explains all the charges that lead to the termination and determines the severance pay (e.g., retirement bonus) a person may receive once he/she decides to leave the company.


Types of Employer Misbehavior

Being aware of the misconduct an employer can do to you will ensure the protection of your rights and allow you to take the necessary actions. 

1. Discrimination – Unjust treatment based on a person’s race, sex, age, religion, or affiliation with a group can be labeled as discrimination. It comes in different forms but is usually done through verbal abuse or isolation.

2. Breach of contract – Breaches occur when an employer does not follow a contract’s terms. Bosses who don’t compensate employees as agreed, require them to perform acts beyond their job description, or force them to work in poor conditions are all violations.

3. Sexual Harassment – Saying or conducting inappropriate sexual acts with the purpose of offending or manipulating are considered sexual harassment. Catcalling, groping, and intimidating are some common examples that may be found in the office.

4. Willful and Serious Misconduct – Intentionally conducting acts that can threaten an employee’s well-being. These may include unfair labor practices such as coercion, unauthorized deductions, and non-remittance of employee contributions required by law.

5. Retaliation – The act of threatening, degrading, or humiliating an employee after he/she has reported a case to the authorities against the employer. A boss may give the employee a hard time at work by giving more tasks, minimizing pay, or terminating without cause.

How to Protect Yourself from Employer Misbehavior

Knowing the types of employer misbehavior and learning how your employment contract can protect you are just parts of the whole equation. There are more necessary steps against the misbehavior to address it and end the cycle.

  • Reach out to HR – One of your HR department’s primary purposes is to ensure that the office is a safe space. They may have been employed by your boss, but it is their job to protect the rest of the staff from any harmful activity. Once you’ve presented the incident to them, you can take planned steps with the HR manager to carefully de-escalate the situation.
  • Review your employment contract – Take note of your contract’s terms to point out which areas have been breached. Pointing out the violations in your agreement will allow you to make a solid case to the authorities.
  • Document the incident – Keep a record of the negative conversations and interactions you’ve had with your boss. If your situation reaches the courtroom, the experiences you’ve taken note of will serve as evidence.
  • Have a non-confrontational conversation – Try communicating your case before you press any legal charges. This can save you from a great deal of stress and may even improve your relationship with your boss down the line.
  • Seek legal advice – In case matters become too complicated, it’s best to consult with a legal professional. This will ensure that competent individuals will handle your case.


Protect Yourself from Bad Bosses

You’ll never know if you’re working for a bad boss until you become the victim. In the unfortunate case that your employer threatens your well-being, you need to take matters into your own hands and defend yourself. Having a deep understanding of your employment contract, what your employer may do to breach it, and knowing what actions to take will guarantee your security and safety as an employee.

In case you’re looking for legal assistance, do know that Shegerian Law is here to help. Our pool of strong and competent lawyers will be glad to solve your employment issues. Contact us today to learn more.

Manuela Varela

Relations Manager

Manuela Varela has been with Shegerian & Associates since August 2022. She is responsible for outreach and marketing on behalf of the firm and manages relationships between firms and referring attorneys. She is also responsible for developing business opportunities and affiliations. Manuela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Economics and Political Science.