When signing an employment agreement, employees should pay attention to noncompetition, minimum severance and discretionary bonus clauses. There are situations where an employee might be better off allowing an employment attorney to look over and negotiate the agreement before it is signed.
Noncompetition clauses state that once an employee leaves his position, he can't accept a job offer in the same industry for a specific period of time. Even though these clauses are nearly unenforceable, they can remove applicants from the running of future jobs.
Minimum severance clauses are a way for employers to give employees the minimum severance allowed under provincial employment regulations in the event that the employee is laid off. The problem with minimum severance is that it's often not enough to pay for the employee's usual living expenses. It's better that employees negotiate for minimum severance in addition to an extra one to two weeks for every year of their employment.
Discretionary bonuses are a way for employers to decide when their employees are eligible for bonuses without having to go into detail as to why. The main issue with discretionary bonus clauses is that employees have no idea of how they can earn bonuses, which can leave them feeling unmotivated to do their best.