A public information resource sponsored by the Law Office of David W. Martin - (800) 229-0546


The relationship between employer and employee is generally governed by contract and various statutes that set certain minimum standards for employers such as wage and hour regulations. Generally, though, employment is “at will” and any additional obligation are contractual.

California law generally defers to the covenants in agreements between employers and their employees. However, as a result of California’s public policy of protecting against employer abuses, many fundamental legal protections (such as wage and hour regulations) cannot be waived by agreement.

Some common employment contract issues include:

Duration & Termination “for cause”
Non-compete Agreements
Exclusive Dealing Arrangements
Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
Status as Employee or Independent Contractor

More often than not, disputes arise after the relationship has ended and the parties are not on the best of terms. For this reason, clear and well-delineated agreements are critical to offset the effects of the emotionally charged nature of post-employment disputes.

Often, the risks and costs of enforcing an agreement outweigh the benefits of litigation. It is therefore critical to clearly define the rights and obligations of employee and employer both during and after the period of employment. Well-drafted agreements help to achieve expectations and avoid litigation.