(844) 815-9632

employment contracts

Is It Legal to Sign a Contract With a Minor?

Adults who enter into contracts with minors may be wondering if it's legal to do so. In general, minors don't have the legal capacity to enter into a contract unless a court approves the contract or a state's statute allows it. So when are contracts between minors and adults enforceable in court? Voidable Contracts To have a valid contract, all parties signing the contract must have the legal capacity to do so. This means that the person signing must have sufficient understanding that he's entering into a contract and the terms he's agreeing to. For most contracts, the general rule is that while it's not illegal to enter into a contract with a minor, the contract is voidable at the discretion of the minor. Voidable contracts are usually valid contracts and are binding unless the child cancels it. On the other hand, if the minor turns 18 and doesn't cancel the contract within a reasonable period of time, the contract could become binding and enforceable. Enforceable Contracts With Minors While most contracts with a minor are voidable, several states have statues that allow minors to sign and be bound by a contract with an adult. These contracts usually involve insurance policies or employment agreements. For example: In Texas, a minor who is over the age of 14 and who doesn't have a guardian for her estate can contract and acquire a life insurance policy that'll be legally binding. In New York, minors can lawfully sign a contract to perform services as an actor, dancer, musician or vocalist, which can then be approved by a court. If such approval is granted, then the minor can't later get out of contract by arguing that it was signed when she was underage. Similarly, California law enforces employment contracts signed by a minor if the child is providing artistic or creative services. Like New York, the contract must be approved by a court in order to be binding on the child. However, California requires that the employer agree to set aside 15 percent of the minor's gross earnings in a trust before the court will approve the contract. So while it may not be illegal to enter into a contract with a minor, it may not be wise to unless it's authorized by law. For more guidance on this issue, consult an experienced contracts lawyer near you. Related Resources: Contracts of Minors (National Paralegal College) Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids? (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Unenforceable Contract? 5 Common Errors (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Need Help Getting a Contract Reviewed? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading

Is Your Confidentiality Agreement Legal?

Do you know whether your confidentiality agreement is legal? A number of issues can render confidentiality agreements invalid. Common pitfalls in such contractual agreements include overbroad, unreasonable, or unduly burdensome terms. When these terms are not legally sound, they risk making the agreement unenforceable. Here are three questions to ask yourself to figure out if your confidentiality agreement is valid: 1. Is It Supported by Consideration? A binding contract must be supported by consideration. That means the person signing the confidentiality agreement needs to get something in return for his or her promise. Accordingly, confidentiality agreements require consideration to be valid. The requirements for consideration will often depend on timing: whether the contract was signed at the time of hire or during employment. If the contract was executed at the time of hire, the job offer itself can suffice as consideration. But if the contract was executed during employment, your employer needs to offer you something to serve as consideration. 2. Is It Realistic and Reasonable? Just like non-compete clauses and other contractual restrictions, most courts require any confidentiality agreement to be "reasonable." To determine the reasonableness of a confidentiality agreement, courts will balance several factors, including: The employer's legitimate business interests in keeping the information secret, The duration of the obligation, The burden on the employee, and The interests of the public. A legal confidentiality agreement is not unduly burdensome and serves a legitimate purpose. 3. Is Its Scope Reasonable? Confidentiality agreements can be deemed unenforceable when they are overly broad. To prevent this issue, most confidentiality agreements include exceptions to confidentiality agreement, including: Information the employee already knew, Information already generally available to the public, and Information obtained illegally. If you're not sure whether your confidentiality agreement is legal -- or if you want to learn about confidentiality agreements in other legal contexts such as family law or medical malpractice -- you may want to consult an experienced contracts attorney for additional assistance. Related Resources: Tips for Negotiating Your Work Contract (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Laid Off: Should I Sign a Severance Agreement? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Leaving a Job? What Can You Take With You? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Google Employee Who Leaked Email on Raises Fired (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
continue reading