Navigating the Terms of an Employment Agreement in Washington
If you have been employed before, chances are that you are familiar with the contents of an employment contract. In Washington, like in any other state, an employment agreement is a legally binding document created by an employer and signed by both parties.
The agreement outlines both parties' specific rights and expectations and aims to create a favorable working environment. The contract aims to protect both parties’ rights and interests by stipulating contract termination terms and dispute resolution techniques.
What is Included in a Washington Employment Contract?
Washington has various types of employment agreements. Meaning the contents may differ significantly. But some of the common issues to expect include:
- Job duties and responsibilities
- Job duration
- Salary and benefits
- Time off and vacation
- Disciplinary procedures
- Reasons for termination
- Restrictive clauses
Note that employment contracts are often used when hiring high-level permanent employees. But it is also recommended for employers to draft one when hiring temporary employees.
Are Employment Agreements in Washington Enforceable?
Only specific contracts are enforceable in Washington. And this includes agreements that outline the fundamental working relationship. Restrictive contracts, like non-compete agreements, are not enforceable since separate laws govern them.
Washington recently revised the provisions of non-compete laws, adding more limitations to restrictive agreements. Some of these provisions state that:
- Non-compete contracts will only be active for 18 months after an employee quits a company
- Non-compete agreements for employees making less than $100,00 are not enforceable
- Both parties must agree upon non-compete arrangements before the employee accepts the job.
The enforceability of an employment agreement in Washington also varies since the state is at-will employment. This means employers and employees can end the working relationship anytime and for any reason.
However, in the presence of a valid contract, the employment is no longer at will. The employment agreement overrides at-will laws by stipulating the grounds by which an employment relationship can end. Once signed and executed, the employer is bound to the terms.
Legal Requirements for Employment Agreements
Under the Washington state labor regulations, it is recommended that employment contracts be in writing and signed. A written contract of employment is much superior and easy to enforce. However, employment contracts that can be completed within 12 months will also be enforceable.
These contracts must not violate laws or public policies. In this regard, it is illegal for an employer to force employees to give up their rights in signing these contracts. Also, an employer must only offer wages as provided by the state.
Types of Washington Employment Contracts
Washington has several types of employment contracts. Each option will vary based on the job, the kind of employee to be hired, and the period of employment. Some of them include.
- A permanent contract is used when hiring permanent employees and has impacts on at-will employment arrangements.
- A non-disclosure agreement is a restrictive contract prohibiting employees from sharing confidential information from former or current employers. It protects the company's trade secrets and more.
- A non-compete agreement is a restrictive contract that limits employees from working for a company's competitor during and after employment.
- Non-solicitation agreement prevents employees from soliciting customers or workers from the former employer.
- Independent contractor employment is used by companies looking to hire workers as independent contractors.
Are you looking for a free employment agreement in Washington? Instead of hiring an attorney to do this work for you, which can be costly, consider taking advantage of the forms provided by Forms.legal. These templates are free, and you can always complete them online, download and print them for signing. It is a hassle-free and time-saving process.