When you hire a new employee, you present them with a contract for their review. If they’re okay with the terms and conditions of employment, they’ll sign the contract thus allowing you to move forward with the onboarding process.
While all of that sounds easy enough, even the most detailed contracts can have loopholes and gray area. And for that reason, there’s always a chance you could find yourself in the middle of an employment contract dispute.
If this comes to light, here are some of the most important steps to take:
- Review the contract: Rather than go off of memory alone, review the contract your employee signed from start to finish. Pay close attention to the details that are at the center of your dispute.
- Formulate a strategy: Now that you’ve read through the contract, you can compare it to what you’ve heard from your employee. This allows you to formulate a strategy for protecting yourself and your company.
- Talk it out: This is easier said than done, especially if the employee is upset with you, but it’s something you should give an honest try. Sometimes, all it takes is a session or two of talking to reach common ground. In addition to stating your point of view, give your employee plenty of time to talk. Also, it’s critical that you keep your cool and remain professional throughout (even if your employee isn’t).
- Negotiate and compromise: You may not get everything you want. The same holds true of your employee. Through negotiation and compromise, you may be able to work something out that benefits both sides. This is your goal.
If all the above fails, it may be time to take the dispute to the next level (if your employee hasn’t already done so). For example, you can ask them to attend mediation. With a mediator moving things along, it’s often easier to work through your disagreement and find a solution.
You do your best to protect against employment contract disputes, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. Should you find yourself in this unenviable position, don’t do anything until you review your contract and formulate a plan.