A friend recently hired a company to do extensive work on her home. The contract called for an arbitration agreement. My friend knew she didn’t want to agree to an arbitration agreement and was delighted when the contractor happily agreed to remove the provision.

I would not be surpirsed at all if your new employer was just as willing to discuss or negotiate your employment contract. Now I will say that is not true for all employers. There is a large hospital system in Virginia that has told a number of my doctor friends, they will not negotiate the terms of their employment agreements – but smaller employers may be more willing.

It is likely that corporate counsel drafted the agreement and even the employer is not wed to the terms.

Think a 50 mile 4 year non-compete is not fair? Think you don’t want to agree to arbitration? It couldn’t hurt to discuss these terms before you sign on to them.

Of course, if you change an overly broad agreement to a narrow one, your employer may be more likely to have a case should you breach the contract… But that aside, being involved in forming the document is always a good idea.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at