Employee voluntary termination penalty

I have recently been offered a one year contract by my existing employer which contains the following:

In the event the Employee voluntarily terminates this Employment Agreement prior to its natural expiration, the Employee shall be responsible to pay to (the Employer) any costs or expenses associated with hiring a replacement employee for the Employee for the remainder of the contract period.

This clause has not been in any previous contracts and feels rather ambiguous.

1 answer  |  asked Jun 13, 2008 3:41 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Rubin
employment contract terms

This post is not meant to: 1) contain my signature; 2) contain legal advice; 3) create an attorney/client relationship; or 4) guarantee confidentiality.

I am going to give you the same analogy I have given to many others when it comes to interpreting and negotiating employment contracts.

If you have an abscessed molar and it needs to be extracted, would you do it yourself? Of course not. You would pay a competent dentist to do it.

Employment contracts can be fraught with trapdoors. By virtue of the fact that your employer is offering you a contract (not at-will employment) you are in the enviable position of negotiating the terms in it.

Even if ambiguous, there is nothing inherently illegal with the clause you describe, however, my recommendation would be to hire an attorney to specifically review the language of the contract and advise you. The fee should not be all that much but I can tell you that if the circumstances occur whereby your employer attempts to enforce the contract, it will cost you a whole lot to defend yourself.

Don't mess with this. Get an attorney to read the contract. Remember the old saw, "you can pay me now or you can pay me later".

Neil Rubin

posted by Neil Rubin  |  Jun 14, 2008 12:00 PM [EST]

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