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Contract employment questions--anyone know anything about this stuff?

ETA, pt. 2: So the hiring company (I guess I’m being hired through a place that provides temp services, not technically by the company I’ll be working at) called me back and said they can take out the bit about needing written authorization from the client to leave, and that they could reduce the “warranty period” from two weeks to one week—they said they couldn’t get rid of it altogether, and it’s a “very standard clause,” which I seriously doubt. So that still means if they choose to fire me in the first week I won’t get paid for the work I did. I’m very well qualified for the job and I think the chances of being fired in the first week are slim to none, but it still makes me nervous. Although, as I said below, I’m not sure I can pass a drug test so this may all be moot anyway. ARGH ARGH ARGH!

So I got an offer for a (fairly shitty, low-paying, far-away) temp job this week. There’s no set timeframe—they need a temporary employee while they look to fill the full-time position, so it’ll last as long as it takes them to fill the job, which could be weeks or months.

They just sent over an employment contract that has a few things that make me nervous:

  1. It says, “Employee shall not leave the project on his/her own without written consent of the employer.” But later it says, “Employee must give employer at least 2 weeks written notice of resignation.”
  2. “Employee further agrees to provide a 2-week warranty period for its services with respect to the project for which employee is being hired... In case client of employer on whose behalf employee is deputed to work, notified the employer, within the first 2 weeks of employment, of employee’s non-suitability for the project for the reasons of non-performance, under-performance, etc., the agreement shall stand terminated and employer shall not be liable to pay employee for any services rendered with those 2 weeks.”

For #1, I’m confused—does that mean I can leave at any time if I provide 2 weeks written notice, or that I’m stuck in the job until they choose to release me? Because the latter would basically make it impossible for me to job search for the entire time I’m temping for them.

And #2 sounds like they’re saying if they choose to fire me within the first 2 weeks, they don’t have to pay me for any of the hours I’ve already put in. Am I reading that correctly? Is that even legal? Obviously I think it’s very unlikely I’ll be fired in the first two weeks, but the idea that I could perform up to 80 hours of work without being paid for it makes me very, very nervous.

Any lawyers out there, or anyone with experience with these types of contract jobs, who have any insight into this? I emailed the person who sent the documents, but I think she’s with a third-party company so I don’t know how much she’ll know or even if she’ll get back to me.

ETA: Argh—drug test, so this may be all for naught anyway. I was fairly heavy pot smoker through the end of last year, and have continued to smoke a little bit (a few hits off a joint maybe once a month or so) since then. I think it’s been a few weeks since I last smoked, and my usage has been fairly rare for months, but I know pot stays in your system for a long time, especially if you’ve used it a lot, so. We’ll see, I guess.

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