Employment agreements provide protections for both employers and employees in South Carolina. These contracts can protect employees from wrongful termination and provide them with a number of rights for the duration of their employment—and afterwards. Employment agreements can also protect employers by allowing them to remain discreet about their trade secrets, protect their interests, and more.
An experienced employment agreement attorney from Beth Santilli Law, LLC can help ensure employers meet the legal requirements of these agreements and can review them on an employer’s behalf before you sign on the dotted line. Get in touch today to request a consultation.
Important Provisions in Employment Agreements
The three most common provisions contained in employment agreements include: non-compete clauses, non-disclosure clauses, and severance agreements. Although these are some of the most important aspects of any employment agreement, there are many other provisions to include depending on the specifics of the employment arrangement. Your attorney can help you understand the most important clauses needed to protect your specific interests and rights.
Non-Compete Clauses / Covenants Not to Compete
A non-compete clause is a restrictive covenant in an employment agreement, sometimes called a covenant not to compete. Non-compete clauses prohibit employees from working for a competitor or starting their own competing business for a certain amount of time once they no longer work for the employer. In general, South Carolina courts disfavor covenants not to compete; however, a non-compete clause will be upheld by the court if it is found to be:
– Necessary to protect the employer’s best interests in their business
– Reasonably limitated with respect to time and place
– Not unduly harsh and oppressive in curtailing the efforts of the employee to earn a livelihood
– Supported by reasonable consideration
– In accordance with public policy
If, for example, an employer’s non-compete clause prohibited the employee from working for a competitor for ten years, the courts would likely deem it unfair because the time limitation is too broad.
Non-disclosure clauses prohibit employees from sharing certain types of business-related information, such as trade secrets. The employment agreement must outline what information the employee is not allowed to share. Such information often includes marketing and sales plans, digital processes, client information, new products, and manufacturing processes.
South Carolina courts have specific legal requirements for non-disclosure clauses to be upheld. The agreement must protect a valid interest of the employer and cannot be too restrictive on the employee, specifically in terms of the length of the non-disclosure clause.
Many people think that severance agreements work only in the employee’s best interests. This is due to the fact that these clauses typically allow the employee to receive compensation if they are terminated or laid off. However, a severance clause can also protect the employer from potential liability issues once the working relationship has ended. Severance clauses within employment agreements are not automatic, but they can be negotiated in certain instances.
Get Legal Help Today
Although the above three clauses are some of the most important to include in an employment agreement, there are others terms to consider, such as salary, bonuses, and benefits the employee will receive.
If you are an employer that needs help drafting an agreement, or if you are an employee who would like an attorney to review your agreement before you sign it, contact us at Beth Santilli Law, LLC today. At Beth Santilli Law, we know how to determine whether an employment agreement is fair, and we will work to ensure it meets the legal requirements in South Carolina.