The real importance of employment contracts has been brought into sharp focus by the resignation of Welsh rugby coach Mike Ruddock, according to employment lawyer Peter Thompson.
Mr Thompson, a partner in the Birmingham office of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, said press coverage appeared to indicate that Mr Rud-dock was given a draft contract at the end of August 2004 but never signed it.
"It seems there were a number of things he was unhappy about, but it is understood that his contract and those given to the rest of his support staff were entirely unsuitable.
"His back-up squad never signed theirs and so one of the issues in his mind must have been that he could be left without support at any time."
He said that according to reports the contract offered was more like a standard office worker's deal rather than one that met the demands of being the coach of Wales.
It included standard office hours of 8.30am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, ignoring the fact that he would often attend Sunday matches and squad training. There were minimal provisions on sick pay.
"I am sure that a significant number of major employers fail to understand the real significance of contracts. An employment contract is like any other legal agreement. It is about balance and being fair to both sides. Both sides need protection. Employees in particular need security and encouragement if you are dealing with senior and prized individuals.
"On the other hand, the employer must be protected adequately. The protection must be sensible and must be enforceable.
"You may wish to consider how such a bog standard contract offer looked to the man who had brought Wales its first Grand Slam in 30 years or so, but I could not possibly comment!"