Do you Need a Written Employment Contract?

Employment Law | December 21, 2021

The working relationship between employers and their employees is complex and can be difficult to understand. This is especially true when it comes to employment contracts and their requirements. While many individuals believe that you need a written employment contract, this is not true. Whether a contract has been put into writing or not, there is an employment contract in place once the employee starts to work for an employer. While a written contract is not required, unwritten contracts are often ambiguous and can expose employers to various issues. That is why the employment lawyers at Linley Welwood have provided some information on the benefits of written contracts and why they are vital for any business.

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3 Reasons Why a Written Employment Contract is Necessary

Written employment contracts protect both the employee and the employer during a variety of situations including:

1. Termination of Employment

A written contract can limit and define the amount of notice an employee will be entitled to upon termination without cause. Without a written contract, employers in BC are required to provide the employee with reasonable common-law notice or pay-in-lieu of this notice. “Reasonable notice” can be up to a month per year of service, but a written contract can reduce this to one week of notice per year of service, allowing employers to control the parameters of this expense.

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2. Change of Working Conditions/Responsibilities

Businesses are constantly changing over time due to market demand and trends. After hiring an employee, new business needs may arise. Employers often respond to these changes by adjusting the responsibilities and duties of employees, adjusting compensation, or reassigning employees to new positions. Employees may resist these changes, especially if there is no written contract in place or their current contract fails to address the possibility of alterations to their duties and position. Employees can also refuse these changes and file a claim for constructive dismissal in some situations. A comprehensive written contract will allow employers to make reasonable changes to employee positions while minimizing the risk of these claims.

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3. Enforcement of Restrictive Clauses

One of the most important reasons to have a written contract is the presence of restrictive clauses. Non-disclosure agreements, non-compete clauses, and intellectual property agreements are all examples of restrictive clauses that can be included in a written contract. With a verbal contract, these clauses can be nearly impossible to prove or argue in favor of either party.

To learn more about employment contracts or other areas of employment law, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached at 604-850-6640 or through our online contact form and will be happy to discuss the details of your case or answer any questions you may have.

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