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Know Your Rights: Offers of Employment

Understanding your rights as an employee starts with understanding your employment offer. Employment offers initiate your professional relationship with your employer and often outline your job responsibilities and the salary and benefits you can expect. 

At-Will Employment vs. Contractual Employment

Most employment positions are at-will, meaning an employee is able to leave the position at their discretion and an employer is able to dismiss an employee without warning for any reason as long as the reason is not illegal (for example, firing someone because of their protected status, such as their sex, race, religion, disability, etc., or because they engaged in protected conduct, such as blowing the whistle on their employer).

Some employees are employed pursuant to a contract with their employer. Employment contracts often contain terms outlining compensation, the length of employment, and sometimes limiting the circumstances under which an employee can be terminated. Employment contracts can include confidentiality obligations, non-solicitation obligations, and, depending on the state, non-compete obligations. Understanding the terms of an employment contract offered to you is crucial because it can have long-term implications for your career trajectory. For instance, depending on the state, a non-compete clause could restrict your employment opportunities in the future. And, a well-drafted clause governing the circumstances of termination could potentially offer some financial security in the event the employer seeks to terminate the employment contract.

Work Hours, Wages, and Overtime

Understanding Minimum Wage and Fair Pay

When it comes to your paycheck, knowing the ins and outs of minimum wage laws and fair pay standards is essential. The federal minimum wage sets the baseline for earnings, but it's just the starting point. Many states may offer higher minimum wages, reflecting the cost of living and economic conditions.

Overtime Regulations and Exemptions

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that eligible employees receive one and a half times their regular pay rate for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek ("overtime"). However, not every employee qualifies for overtime. Exempt employees, often those in executive, professional, or administrative roles, may not be entitled to overtime pay. 

We encourage you to contact Nichols Kaster PLLP for guidance and support in ensuring your rights as an employee are protected. Let us be your advocates in the workplace so you can focus on what you do best.