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5 Deficiencies in an Employment Contract

By April 6, 2016July 9th, 2021Employment Law

We are always here to help our clients – it’s what we do! So when a Dentist had questions about a recent employment contract he received from another lawyer we were happy to help. This employment contract was deficient in 5 different ways.

  • There was no job description or list of job duties in the contract.  The contract said it would rely on a previous job description given to the employee earlier.  If you’re going to offer a contract, why not take the time and provide all the relevant details at the beginning?  On top of that, the contract said the employer could make any change to the job description and it would not constitute constructive dismissal.  That is just asking for a “he said/she said” argument.

OUR ADVICE: Include a detailed job description in the contract and permit the employer to make reasonable changes to it.

OUR ADVICE: Have a well-drafted non-solicitation clause in all employment contracts.

  • There was no termination for cause provision & the termination without cause provision was completely insufficient. It stated the employer could terminate the employee for “any reason upon the provision of notice” under the Employment Standards Act.  No mention of pay in lieu of notice or any other benefits to the employee that they would receive by the law. If you are going to provide a written contract to an employee, it should be clear and detailed.

OUR ADVICE: Use clear and well-researched termination with cause and without cause provisions in employment contracts.  Without it, an employer is asking for a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.  On top of that, a poorly written termination without cause provision will simply be voided by a court (like in the cases of Wright v. Young & Rubicam Group of Cos. (Wunderman), 2011 ONSC 4720 or Garreton v Complete Innovation, 2016 ONSC 1178 (Ont Div Ct).

  • There was important information in the introduction of the contract that should have been more clear.  This particular contract was actually a fixed-term 1-year contract, but it was buried in the intro.

OUR ADVICE: Organize your contract well and speak to a lawyer who has drafted good contracts before.

  • The contract did not require the employee to provide proof of their certification as a Dental Hygienist.

OUR ADVICE: Require your employee to provide proof of their membership in their respective professional college and to keep you up to date on any changes to their status.

Do you have any similar clauses in your contracts? You may want to review them and see if there are any deficiencies in them.

BONUS! The contract actually said the employee cannot “use the internet” while working, but that’s a bit too broad.  It could hinder the employee in performing his or her tasks for work.  It should have been more clear and state that the employee could only use company hardware and software for work purposes only.

DMC