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What to look for before signing employment contracts

Employers often want their employees to sign a contract. But before doing so, employees might be wise to read everything contained in the contract, including the fine print. No employees in Ontario should ever feel pressured into signing any documents presented to them by employers and in fact, they have every right to get a lawyer to look over any employment contracts if they so choose.

An employment contract should include when a job begins and when it ends. The language should indicate if the employee is terminated that it is for just cause. In terms of a pay rate -- it should be clearly defined in the contract. It should spell out if the employee could qualify for any bonuses and how that would play out. Benefits should also be stated, if there are any.

If an employee has other work, a contract should indicate that moonlighting is acceptable. Employees might be wise to look for any noncompete clauses in the contract which may prevent them from working for competitors for a defined period after their employment ends. There are many things an employer might try to include in an employment contract that may not be legal. It's important for employees to be crystal clear about what they're signing.

Employment contracts in Ontario can be confounding. If there are parts of a contract that seems erroneous, an employee would be wise to enlist legal help. Legal ease might be difficult to understand and a lawyer may be able to translate a document so that it makes sense to his or her client. So, having a legal opinion regarding any contracts may put an employee's mind at ease.

Source:, "What To Do Before Signing an Employment Contract", John Rossheim, Accessed on Feb. 9, 2018

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