Good employment relationships start with a good recruitment process so that the employee and employer have the same expectations about the role and working conditions.
A well written employment agreement helps the employee and employer to know what is expected from them and what they’re entitled to.
This means misunderstandings are less likely to happen and if a problem does come up then the employee and employer can go to the employment agreement to clarify things.
A client or, in the case of an in house lawyer colleague (who for the purposes of this article will also be considered a client), asks you to prepare a document and then your heart sinks as he says “oh and it has to be dated” and gives a date which has already passed.
This is a fraud on the tax authorities, a criminal offence and is likely to get the lawyer who prepared the document disciplined by his regulator and possibly also charged as a co-conspirator.
For obvious reasons, any request to backdate a document for these reasons should be flatly turned down.
The event did not happen during the time period required for the benefit so an attempt is being made to pretend that it did.
However, an explanation often given by the person wanting to backdate the document is that the document is merely meant to reflect an oral agreement that has already been made and that this is just a way of documenting it.
In theory, this would appear on the face of it to be a reasonable request, as it is just a private arrangement between two parties.
If the document is putting in place something which “should have been done” but hasn’t been, usually for tax or similar reasons, then the position is straightforward.
For example, if a seller had sold his house in December then the seller could have taken advantage of certain tax benefits.
The argument is obviously not valid if the transaction is one which is required by law to be in writing such as a transfer of land.