New York Employment Contracts Lawyer

New York is an at-will state, which means employees generally can be terminated at an employer’s will. However, most executives and employees with special skills sign contracts that spell out what is expected of them and their employers.

If you hire key employees and executive management, consult a New York employment contracts lawyer at Sparks Law. Our skilled attorneys can help draft a definitive document that spells out what you expect of your new hires. Alternatively, if your new employer has given you an agreement to sign, let us review it and advise you on protecting your rights.

The Basics of an Employment Agreement

Employment contracts, like all contracts, are based on mutual covenants to give up something of value to gain something else of value. A new employee gives up the right to work for someone else, and an employer gives up money to gain the employee’s talent.

A contract is not enforceable if only one party gives something up. For instance, if an employer pays wages to an employee who is not expected to provide services, the wages would be considered a gift. With mutual written covenants, employees that do not fulfill their bargain are breaching the agreement, with could be grounds for termination.

Covenants in an Employment Contract

An employment contract will typically contain information such as the employee’s name, wages, job duties, and benefits, including sick days, paid vacations, and holidays. Employment contracts span a time period, after which they can be renegotiated and renewed. Other covenants may include:

  • A probation period during which the parties can decide if the match is a good fit
  • A covenant restricting the employee from sharing the company’s confidential information
  • A covenant restricting the employee from accepting a job with a competitor for a set time and geographic area after the employment agreement terminates
  • How and when performance reviews are conducted
  • Non-solicitation language restricting employees from taking customers or other employees to a new company after the agreement ends
  • Termination language including for cause
  • Whether arbitration or mediation is acceptable to settle disputes

Although New York is an at-will state, an employment agreement alters that status. For example, say an agreement designates a three-year term with renewal unless one party gives the other 30 days’ notice. In this case, an employer cannot revert to at-will and terminate the employee without cause during that term.

Federal Laws for Employment Agreements

An employment contract and the decisions behind offering one to an employee must comply with federal laws. For instance, under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOC), employers cannot offer some employees contracts over others doing the same job if the decision is based on race, religion, color, sex, ethnicity, age, disability, or genetic profile. Employers and employees should consult a New York attorney to help draft or review employment contracts that comply with federal regulations.

Advantages of Employment Agreements in New York

Employment agreements benefit employers and employees because they offer clarity about what each party owes the other. As long as they do their outlined duties, the employee knows how long they will keep the job and how much they will be paid.

However, employers can still terminate an employee for breaching the terms of the agreement. Disputes can be settled without expensive litigation if the parties agree to arbitration or mediation. A local employment contracts attorney can offer further advice in defining the employer/employee relationship and avoiding expensive legal battles.


There are few disadvantages to having a written employment agreement in place. Some employees may regret being bound to a company for a set period if they dislike the job or are offered a better one before the term ends. Employers may find it difficult to terminate an employee if they must downsize. As such, anyone considering an employment agreement should consult a skilled lawyer at our firm on whether it is in their best interests.

Let a New York Employment Contracts Lawyer Advise You

Key personnel and executives are crucial to your business, and you want to keep them. One way is to offer them an agreement that is beneficial to both employees and the company.

A New York employment contracts lawyer can be a vital resource for drafting and reviewing these agreements. At Sparks Law, one of our knowledgeable attorneys could help facilitate a solid employer-employee relationship for both parties. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.