Business Contract Lawyer

Employment contracts can be useful for business owners in protecting their interests. But contracts can also cause problems if the wording is ambiguous or if they fail to include important information.

Whether you’re just preparing to hire your first employee or you’ve been using a standard employment contract for years, Lusk Law, LLC, can ensure your contracts are legally sound. We focus on providing legal guidance to small business owners. That includes drafting or revising documents that are necessary to the success of your business, including:

  • Non-compete agreements
  • Short-term/temporary worker contracts
  • Contracts for full-time employees
  • Contracts for senior-level staff.

We also represent business owners in court, as necessary. But with strong employment contracts, businesses are less likely to end up in litigation arising from an employee dispute. Call us if you need to create or revise employee contracts: 1-443-535-9715.

Avoiding Misclassification

There are two types of workers: employees and independent contractors. Sometimes, business owners make the mistake of assuming someone they’re paying is an independent contractor when, in fact, that person is technically an employee.

Here are some of the differences between employees and contractors:

  • Contractors set their own hours and use their own equipment; a worker who is expected to work certain hours and who uses company equipment would be considered an employee.
  • Employees do work that is essential to the company – for example, manage day-to-day operations of a restaurant.
  • Contractors pay all of their own taxes and do not receive employer-paid benefits.

When hiring temporary workers, it’s important to understand the differences between contractors and employees. The Internal Revenue Service and Maryland’s Division of Labor and Industry have stepped up enforcement in recent years regarding misclassification of employees. Maryland is especially concerned with the construction and landscaping industries.

Basics of Employment Contracts

Most employment relationships don’t last forever, so business owners must consider that employees will one day leave the company – either voluntarily or involuntarily. To avoid being sued for wrongful termination, companies must clearly explain in writing their processes for disciplinary action and termination.

Employment contracts may also include information about:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Pay, including when employees are paid
  • Benefits
  • Time off, including procedures for requesting time off
  • Bonuses or commission
  • Stock options and profit sharing
  • Travel expenses or mileage
  • Rules regarding use of company equipment.

Contracts will vary, depending on the nature of the business. For example, in healthcare professions, businesses will need to include language about patient privacy and the confidentiality of records. Some businesses may also want a non-disclosure agreement, to protect proprietary information.

Businesses may want more than one type of contract. Some companies have separate agreements employees must sign acknowledging policies on harassment, discrimination, and workplace violence.

Anticipating the Worst

Good business planning includes thinking of nearly everything that could go wrong. How would your business respond if an extreme weather event forced you to close for a week? Would employees still be paid? Would you expect them to work remotely? These questions may not necessarily guide the creation of your employment contracts, but they can help you anticipate and prepare for challenges.

Getting Legal Advice

Lusk Law, LLC, excels at advising businesses, because we are business owners ourselves. In running a law firm, a investment and rental property company, and a horse boarding facility, we’ve learned a lot about anticipating and preparing for many eventualities. Contact us online, or at 1-443-535-9715, if you need legal advice for your business.

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