Although usually reserved for office or executive employees, having employment agreements in place with field workers can help avoid and mitigate some significant legal issues.
We recommend the following three provisions to include in your employment agreements with field workers to ensure maximum protection from liability:
Class Action Waivers
Few things can put a construction company into financial jeopardy quicker than a class action lawsuit brought against the company by its employees. It can result in significant financial damages, loss of reputation, and a drain on the company’s resources. A class-action waiver is a provision whereby the employee agrees to waive their right to participate in a class-action lawsuit, instead requiring them to resolve any disputes with you on an individual basis. You should include a class action waiver to protect you from the risk of costly litigation and reduce your potential liability.
While a class-action waiver protects you from class-action suits, it doesn’t stop an employee from suing you individually. That’s where arbitration comes in. An arbitration provision is a provision that requires disputes to be resolved through arbitration rather than the court system. Arbitration is generally faster and less expensive than litigation, and it can be a more efficient way to resolve disputes while even potentially protecting the relationship. The provision should include who will pay for the arbitration, where it will be held, and how the arbitrator(s) will be chosen. You need to have clear and concise language in the arbitration provision to avoid any possible disputes over interpretation.
As a construction contractor working with your own clients, you may have access to confidential and proprietary information that mustn’t be shared with your competitors or other third parties. For this reason, a construction employment agreement should always include a non-disclosure provision that prohibits employees from disclosing confidential information, trade secrets, and other sensitive information about you or any of your clients. This will help protect your business from harm by competitors as well as potential liability from your clients.
Obviously, there will be other provisions that your employee agreement should cover (including employee/employer responsibilities, benefits, termination provisions, etc.). However, these three key elements are the most vital for protecting you and your company from liability and financial harm. With all the terms of your agreement, make sure the language is clear and concise, leaving no room for misinterpretation, so all parties know what’s expected of them.
To ensure that your employment agreements afford maximum protection for you and your team members, always have them drafted (or at least reviewed) by an experienced business attorney before execution. At Travis Law, we have extensive experience with employee-employer relations, and we’re happy to perform document reviews of your current agreements or draft new agreements to make sure your legal bases are covered properly. Contact our offices today to discuss.