When it comes to contract law, there are certain instances where the same rules apply for a specific type of contract time and time again. As these provisions become increasingly repeated, they may become what are known as boilerplate provisions, upon which boilerplate contracts can be based. While boilerplates are usually reserved for consumer contracts and service term agreements, boilerplate provisions can be commonly used in employee contracts to save the effort of individualizing each contract. However, as useful as boilerplates are, they can lead to problems with both parties if these contracts or provisions are not carefully treated and examined.
From a consumer or employee’s standpoint, a common problem that many run into with boilerplate contracts is possible abuse of power. Boilerplate contracts are, by their nature, non-negotiable. The standard form contract is usually served or presented by someone who does not have a legal background, as these people are usually more involved in sales departments, meaning that they may not be willing or able to change any given provisions. Boilerplate contracts may lead to a take-it-or-leave-it mindset, in which any complaints are not addressed legally.
Socially, boilerplates can be dangerous for those signing. In general, fine print in boilerplates are rarely completely read by those signing, even if it is in an employment contract. For some, this is out of laziness, while, for others, the peer pressure of the company can be sufficient to skip detailed provisions. With some boilerplate provisions, the definition of legal terms will not be provided within the contract, making it impossible to fully understand the terms of agreement by reading the contract alone.
Contract law has developed into an increasingly jargon-filled legal field that is almost inaccessible to the average person. To learn more about addressing employment contract concerns that include boilerplate provisions, contact an employment attorney.