Breaches of Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are frequently used to detail an employee’s role at company, and what the employee can expect in terms of compensation. You might have signed an employment contract stating things such as your salary, your benefits and how many vacation days you will receive. Your contract might also have included something called a “non-compete agreement,” which is used to restrict an employee who quits or is terminated from working for a competitor. Many contracts will also state that employees are “at will” employees, meaning they may quit at any time or be terminated at any time, and for any legal reason. Some contracts will give restrictions on terminating an employees, where an employer may only terminate the employee based on certain specified grounds.

It is possible to negotiate your contract prior to signing the document, but once the contract is signed by you and your employer, it becomes legally binding on both you and your employer. You will now be required to meet the terms of your contract, and your employer will be required to meet the terms pertaining to them, as discussed further below.

But, what if your employer requested that you sign one of these contracts, and you complied, only to have the employer breach that contract at a later date?

What does it mean if your employer breached your contract?

If you had a valid employment contract, and your employer has not done what they had agreed to do based on the contract, then your employer has breached the contract they made with you.

For instance, if your employment contract states that you get paid a higher wage for working on holidays, but they refuse to pay you the extra sum, then your employer is in violation of the contract that you both signed. Likewise, if your contract includes a clause saying that you get a company car, and then the car is taken back, that is a breach of your contract.

What should you do in the event your contract was breached?

The first step to take is to look at the contract that you signed. Legal contracts often use complicated language, and we often don’t give them the careful scrutiny they deserve. Be sure that the clause you believe was breached is listed, that you interpreted it correctly, and that the contract does not give the employer a way out of complying with that clause.

Next, if you have not done so yet, make an effort to speak with your employer to inform them that the terms of your employment contract have not been met. It is possible that there was an oversite, or that turnover led to someone making the decision when they were unfamiliar with the terms of the contract that you signed.

If you find that your employer is refusing to adhere to the contract, you may want to consult with an attorney in order to determine that your employer is indeed in violation of the contract, and to potentially pursue a claim against your employee for breach of contract.

How can the breach be remedied?

An employer might have to meet their terms of the contract that they had previously signed. For instance, they might be required to pay you back pay that you were owed, or provide you with the company car that your contract stated they would provide. Alternatively, you could renegotiate for higher pay in place of the car, or some other compensation to make up for what you lost as a result of their breach.

A few things to keep in mind

As discussed, an employment contract is a legally binding contract. Do not sign one without reading it, and if possible, consider having an attorney read the contract for you too. Saying you just didn’t read the contract is not going to help you in the event that you do not meet the terms of your employment agreement.

Also, remember to keep a copy of your contract. In the event something happens that you believe is in violation of your contract, you will want to reference it, and if your employer does violate your contract, you will need to have a copy of it to show what the agreement was and that it was violated.

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having your employment contract breached by an employer who is refusing to meet the terms you agreed to, you should contact an employment attorney to seek compensation.

Contact Stern Law, PLLC for A Free Consultation

At Stern Law, PLLC, we have compassionate and caring attorneys ready to work with you to find the best solution to your employment law related legal issues. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for a free consolation with an experienced employment attorney.

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