Many companies in New Jersey require their employees to sign contracts with terms that a worker must follow to remain employed there, such as an agreement not to disclose confidential information or compete with the employer post-employment or an agreement to waive their statutory rights to pursue a legal claim in court. While some of these agreements or contract terms may be enforceable, there are certain things that employees should do to protect themselves from surprises and troubles down the road.
Red flags to watch for while signing a contract
Reading everything and retaining your own copy of the contract or agreement are two of the most important pieces of advice to remember when it comes to contracts. You can find out if you’re allowed to opt out, which companies commonly give the option for when they concern arbitration policies. There are also some red flags to be aware of, including any arbitration that requires the employee to pay for it, arbitration with deadlines that are shorter than what is needed to legally complete an action and certain types of non-compete clauses.
More about arbitration agreements
In terms of arbitration, New Jersey has held certain forced arbitration agreements unenforceable, for example, arbitration agreement is sent out over email and are signed that way as well. The state of New Jersey prefers arbitration agreements as an alternative way to settle disputes that do not overburden the state courts. However both parties willingly agree to them, meaning that an employer can’t force their employees to sign one. Moreover, employers can’t send an arbitration consent form out as employee training, but they can put it in a contract, so this is a time that you should be especially on the alert about what you’re signing.
When you’re signing a contract, you need to know what you’re allowed to decline signing, what kinds of clauses could cause you problems later and when arbitration clauses aren’t legally binding. If you’re ever unsure, you can talk to an attorney before you sign a contract.