5 Top Employment Contract Terms Requiring Legal Advice

You’ve received the job offer, and your employer is asking you to sign the offer and make it official.

If you’re like most people, your eyes will scan down to terms about pay, benefits, and compensation, and you might figure that the rest is just legalese.

However, glossing over those terms in your job offer can come back to bite you later on. And while you might be comforted to make the job official with a signature, it’s important to remember that your employer was the one to write this agreement, and most of the terms in there exist for your employer’s benefit – not yours.

Here are some of the most consequential yet misunderstood terms of employment:

1)Termination/Dismissal provision

Understandably, most employees are not thinking about termination when they sign a new job offer – but employers are. Most employment claims (and the most valuable employment claims) relate to termination of employment. But an employment lawyer’s ability to help you can be undermined by the language in your original job offer – even one from years ago. Many employees will simply sign away their termination rights without a second thought.

Courts recognize this power imbalance, resulting in tons of case law where courts have found termination provisions to be unenforceable due to technicalities in the way they are written. As an odd consequence of this, many employment lawsuits are almost entirely dependent on the employer’s technical sloppiness in drafting the employment contract. Don’t let yourself be caught in this position – get legal advice before signing that job offer.

2)Probationary period

Similarly, when a job offer contains a probationary period, employees will often mistakenly assume that they have some measure of job security once that probationary period is complete. But this is not so – you may be entitled to nothing more than one week’s notice of termination – even after you’ve completed your probationary period. It all comes down to – once again – the wording of your contract.

3)Signing bonuses for existing employees

Beware if your employer is asking you to sign a “new” or “updated” employment contract for a position you already have. Your employer is likely asking you to sign away important rights (such as rights upon termination). The “signing bonus” is not an award for your time and inconvenience in reviewing new terms, it is the bare minimum you must receive to make an updated employment contract legally enforceable.

4)Stock options and other vague incentive compensation

Beware if your employer includes vague terms about stock options, bonuses, or other incentive compensation to entice you to accept a job offer. These terms may be so vague as to be legally unenforceable. If you must be satisfied with a vague term when you accept an employment offer, be sure to follow up with your employer to get these promises committed to writing, as quickly and specifically as possible.


In most cases, non-competition agreements (i.e., agreements that prevent you from working with competitors post-employment) are completely unenforceable. The same is often, true of non-solicitation agreements, which may prevent you from soliciting clients, employees, and suppliers to take their business elsewhere following the end of your employment. An enforceable non-solicitation agreement must contain reasonable and clear specifications as to what exactly constitutes a “solicitation”; who you are prohibited from soliciting, and for how long. An employment lawyer can give you a clearer idea of what these obligations will require of you (if anything) in the event your employment comes to an end.

Once again, it is always better to get advice on these agreements before you sign, so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

If you aren’t ready to talk to someone yet, you can take a look at the Employment Law page on our website to read more.

If you are dealing with an employment issue such as wrongful dismissal, unfair severance, or workplace harassment, contact the employment lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our 35+ years of experience in long term disability (LTD) law and team of experienced employment lawyers can help you win your case against your employer. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless you win your case. Join us on Facebook and become a Top Fan for a chance to win each month.

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A note from our long term disability lawyers

Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.

If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.

Our Disability law firm knows what you have been going through

We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.

Our experienced disability lawyers can fight back on your behalf

Share Lawyers believes that every client who is dealing with a disability claim deserves superior personal service. To achieve that goal, we have developed our team of experienced, compassionate, and caring long term disability lawyers, law clerks, and administrative staff to meet all of your needs. Our team of experienced long term disability, life insurance, employment, and critical illness insurance lawyers have made successful claims against many insurance companies, third-party administrators and employers.

If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.

Our disability claim lawyers fight for your disability insurance claim by relying on our many years of experience to apply the best strategic planning and approach in each case, using the latest technology available. Experience matters, and with Share Lawyers, you are in the best hands with 35 years of success on your side.

In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.

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