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What are a worker’s rights under an employment contract?

Some jobs are open-ended; the employee stays in his or her position until he quits, is fired or laid off, or the company goes out of business. On the other hand, some people in California work under an employment contract. This is an unusual arrangement, but an employment contract is more common for senior executives, such as CEOs and CFOs.

One big reason that an employer may wish to sign a worker to a contract is when the position has a lot of complicated terms and conditions for the worker to meet. In other cases, the employee’s compensation includes a complex benefits package. Lastly, some jobs are related to intellectual property, and employers like to use contract clauses to protect trade secrets and copyrights.

The employee’s protection against getting fired may depend on the language in the contract. Most employment contracts require that the employer show “good cause” for terminating the worker, but in some cases the employee works “at will.”

If a dispute arises, the parties generally are required to go to arbitration. California court decisions have ensured that the arbitration process be affordable for employees.

As with any contract, a valid employment contract contains benefits and obligations for both parties. If an employer violates the terms of the contract, for instance by firing the employee without good cause, the worker will probably suffer significant harm, such as lost wages. Without the help of an employment law attorney, injustice could be the result, and the employee could be left without important assets to which they are entitled.