Overview

Employment at will:

All employees are presumed to be at will – meaning, they may be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not discriminatory. An exception to this rule arises when an employee has an agreement with his employer for a set term of employment (i.e., 2 years, etc.).

Offer letters versus Employment Agreements:

  • Offer letters are generally NOT contracts and do NOT specify a term of employment.
  • Employment agreements are contracts for a set term of employment.

Protecting Your Rights In Employment Contracts

In New York state, employment is generally "at will," which means that an employee may be terminated at any time and for any reason or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not discriminatory. An exception to the employment at-will rule arises when an employee has an agreement with his employer specifying that employment may be terminated only "for cause."

Even where an employee is "at will," offer letters and employment contracts are used to outline terms and conditions of employment, creating a mutual understanding between the parties to an employment relationship. Recent revisions to the New York Labor Law impose obligations on employers to provide offer letters to all new employees and all existing employees on an annual basis.

Fisher Taubenfeld LLP assists employees to understand and negotiate terms and conditions of their employment. Similarly, the firm assists employees to negotiate and draft severance agreements when an employment relationship is about to cease or has already been terminated, and to bring breach of contract claims when employers fail to abide by the terms of an employment agreement.

Employment Agreements

Employment contracts outline and secure an employee's terms and conditions of employment and provide job security. Employment contracts typically include:

  • The term of employment;
  • The employee's title, duties and responsibilities;
  • Compensation, including salary and bonuses;
  • Employee participation in corporate plans;
  • Benefits, including medical, dental, disability, life insurance and retirement benefits;
  • Grounds for early termination and severance benefits due upon termination, if any; and
  • Applicable restrictive covenants (i.e., noncompete, nonsolicitation and nondisclosure agreements).

An employee who is a union member is subject to a written contract between his union and employer known as a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"). The CBA sets forth terms and conditions of employment for covered employees, including payment and calculation of wages, hours of work, working conditions, grievance procedures, leave policies, and information regarding benefits.

Contact Fisher Taubenfeld LLP

We offer a free and confidential phone consultation in which you can discuss your employment matter. Send an email or call 646-741-3490, toll free 866-654-0343, to speak with an experienced New York employment contracts attorney.