Employment contracts: What are they good for?

2 minute read

Really liked this post on whether employment contract are needed. (I can hear all my HR friends gasping now and sharpening their pitchforks/taring their torches).

At least, it’d work for most small places I’d like to believe. I remember at my last place the minute detail we were adding to every job description in the default which made it impossible to separate out what a person actually did from the jargon-eze. I know I quipped at one point that we don’t put that we expect people to wear clothes to work in the JD at one point since I thought the convo had jumped the shark.

Because really, I only see employment contracts as a big issue when it comes round to firing people or when someone goes to sue you because they feel they’ve been wronged (if you have wronged them, as some companies do, this won’t work for you. Fix it or don’t do this. Try not to be evil would be my advice.). But everywhere I’ve ever been, employment contracts are virtually unenforceable. People get sacked or they don’t and that has a cost.

I think this is even more interesting where you’re running a virtual or international company actually. Cuts through a lot of crap. I’d like my company to be legally anchored in cyberspace rather than a country.

I’d be interested in what a lawyer thinks of this approach… ie. putting up a /workinghere URL on your site which lists out the legal obligations and standard boilerplate for a company and then just having a person’s specific responsibilities in a one pager.

Though that is from the company side. I’d imagine I’d have to have quite a bit of trust in the company to show up without a signed contract. Particularly when leaving my last job (of course, that’s more letter of offer stuff).