Abra esta publicación para ver el enlace en espanol.
Covid-19 has hit the economy hard. It is affecting all of us in ways we would not have even imagined.
In Texas, particularly in Houston, our economy is heavily tied to the oil industry. It is likely that economic changes will continue to unfold even after the initial health threat has passed. The Houston energy companies will need to adapt to the new reality.
People have already experienced changes in their working environment, layoffs, furloughs, and termination of employment.
If you have an employment contract, and changes are put into effect by your employer, it is worth a review of your contract. If you are an independent contractor with a contract, the same goes for you. If your salary is going to be cut, or you are being terminated and have one of these contracts, you should know and understand your rights.
As an employee, you may also have a severance package offered to you. Now, as always, we advise that you have a severance package reviewed by a Texas business lawyer prior to agreeing to it.
Having an attorney review these documents for you protects your rights. It protects your family, and even helps the other party to the contract. This is advised even if you have a great relationship with your employer or supervisor. If terms in a contract are ambiguous, or crucial items are missing, this can lead to big problems. Even if both parties are honestly doing the best they can to deal with this situation, and are acting in good faith, there are ways that a business lawyer can help you.
First of all, it is not uncommon to see employment contracts or severance packages drafted by someone who is not a lawyer. This happens more often than you would think. It is also common to see employers use the same contract over and over for different employees and situations. Using a template is not always bad. But the contract should have been reviewed to make sure that it fit the particular situation, and that any changes in law or procedure were included. If this did not happen, legal assistance may be needed to interpret the current situation.
With Covid-19 happening, there is one additional question that will be important in reviewing contracts. That is, are the parties still able to do what they promised to do? And if not, is it legally excusable? That is the type of legal interpretation that can be difficult, and even lawyers and courts may be struggling to define. In your own situation, you just want to be sure you understand what you are agreeing to, that it is fair to you, and that you can implement a plan that best serves you and your family to survive financially going forward.
If you have questions about your employment contract, severance contract or independent contractor agreement, give us a call.
To help in the time of need, through May, 2020, we are offering a free 20 minute telephone or video consult with one of our business attorneys. We can answer your questions and tell you your options for going forward.
Contact us. Ask to schedule a free business consult before May 31, 2020.