Negotiating an Employment Contract

As a successful job applicant, you may be required to sign an employment contract. In order to understand the terms and conditions of the agreement, as well as to protect your rights as an employee, it is recommended that you meet with an employment lawyer prior to committing to any agreement. 

Important Facts

  • Employment legislation varies by province. It outlines the minimum standards that an employer must abide by.
  • The contract establishes control. For example, it can specify whether an employer can relocate you, alter your salary, or change your position within the company.

Common Terms

  • The duration of the contract, compensation, job description, and terms of termination should be specifically addressed in the agreement.
  • Restrictive covenants and intellectual property assignments may also be included in the contract. It is important to understand the implications of these clauses because they can potentially limit your rights.

What Can an Employment Lawyer Do for You?

  • Help to develop a negotiation strategy to improve the terms of the contract.
  • Ensure you are protected if you are terminated without cause.
  • Establish severance pay entitlements.
  • Determine your rights in the case of intellectual property ownership.
  • Give advice on clauses that may limit your future job opportunities with a competitor.


  • Insist on a written offer of employment and carefully review all the terms and conditions of the agreement.
  • Prepare a list of questions for your lawyer. If he or she does not explain the law in an understandable way, look for another attorney.
  • Ensure that employment law is your lawyer’s specialty and that the law office does not also represent your employer.
  • Make sure the problem can be solved in a timely, cost-effective way.