Employment Contracts – Does your business need them?

Employees are a vital part of your business and naturally you want to hire people you can trust. However, it is also important to have policies in place should employees break this trust through theft or other forms of misconduct.

In New Mexico, employees can be hired on an “at-will” basis, meaning their employment can be terminated at any time and for almost any legal reason.  However, an employer’s conduct during the term of employment can actually create an employment contract, the terms of which may not be very clear because they are not written down.  For this reason, employers may want to have their employees sign written employment contracts. An employment contract can clearly convey the expectations and terms of the relationship between you and your employee, including working hours, terms and conditions of employment, agreement to the expectations determined in the job description, and termination procedures.

In order to protect your business, you can also require non-compete agreement contracts, ensuring that a former employee cannot work for one of your competitors for a set amount of time after their employment with you has ended. The enforceability of these types of contracts varies from case-to-case, so non-compete contracts should be tailored to fit each situation.

Similarly, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements will protect you from a former employee sharing trade secrets or other information with a competing business, or from taking clients to start their own business in the same field.

If you need help drafting these contracts and policies, the lawyers at Business Law Southwest can help.

If employee misconduct has already occurred, we can help you evaluate the case and represent you in negotiations with the former employee, or litigate on your behalf if an agreement cannot be reached.

Call us at 505-848-8581 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced New Mexico employment law attorney.

About dkochersberger:

Don Kochersberger is an attorney and partner of Slingshot, LLC, the parent company of Business Law Southwest, LLC, and Law 4 Small Business, P.C. He is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and Texas, and leads the firm's litigation practice.

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