If you think of how many people that you've known that have been asked to sign an employment contract before they were hired on to take a job, then you would probably mention teachers, doctors or company executives. There are varying reasons that an employer may request them to sign one.
One of perhaps the most common reasons that employers require their workers to sign employment contracts is to protect their trade secrets from being shared with potential competitors. In some cases, an employer may have a worker sign a nondisclosure or noncompete to ensure that this doesn't occur.
Another reason that workers may be requested to sign an employment contract is to ensure that those well-trained, highly sought-after employees that they work so hard to recruit can't easily walk away from them.
Employers may also have their employees sign employment contracts as a way of holding them accountable for performing work up to certain standards. It also makes it easier for them to let workers go if they don't.
One of the negatives to having employees sign contracts is that they can lock employers into having an employee work for them longer than they may have wanted. If an employer needs change, then they may be on the hook for paying a contracted worker unless they're able to renegotiate a contract with them.
Another negative to having a worker sign an employment contract is that if a judge deems it overly restrictive, then they may order it to be thrown out. If this happens, then a worker that a company has invested in may no longer be required to protect the company's trade secrets, potentially creating an unfair competitive environment for their former employer.
Contracts are a two-way street. The person drafting the document is focused on protecting their interests whereas an employee is interested in finding out what they're going to get out of signing it.
This is why it's important that no worker enters any business agreement without clearly understanding what's being agreed to. It's also critical that a company fully understand the pros and cons of including certain conditions of any employment contract that they draft. No matter what side of the bargaining table that you're sitting at, a Cincinnati attorney can ensure that your interests are protected.