How Could an Employer Breach a Contract of Employment?

Types of Employment Contract Violations

Employment contracts govern the employment relationship between an employee and his or her employer. Whether an employment contract is written, implied or oral, a California employment contract can be a source of litigation when an employer breaches, breaks or otherwise violates the agreement. Breaches of employment contracts most often occur when an employer fires an employee, or the employment relationship otherwise breaks down.

When a breach of an employment contract occurs, consult a Los Angeles breach of contract lawyer for free advice immediately. This will then preserve all your rights and allow you to discuss your best legal options.

The Los Angeles CA employment law firm of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob thrives on providing effective legal representation. Strict, firm and intimidating, our Los Angeles breach of contract lawyer is no-nonsense when it comes to making sure the law and employee rights are respected in all types of contract disputes.

Elements of a Written Employment Contract Breach in California

Written employment contracts in California are rare. In many instances, it is only highly paid sports stars, models and actors who get the benefit of written employment contracts. However, any written employment contract binds the parties to certain terms and conditions.

Some common terms in written employment contracts include:

  • Specified periods of employment
  • Certain rates of pay
  • Duties both parties must perform
  • Severance packages and other contingencies in the event of workforce reduction 

In many cases, different employees may enter into different employment agreements with their employers depending on their unique situation. For example, in a recent case, our law firm represented an employee who filed a lawsuit against both her former employee and her workers’ union for breach of contract. When she was promoted, this employee entered into a Seniority Agreement with her employer, which allowed her to resume her former position in the event of a reduction in the workforce. However, she was later laid off without being given this option, and her union representative failed to pursue an action on her behalf.

Many employees contested these layoffs, but the plaintiff had a unique employment contract, separating her claim from the class action. In this case, the Court of Appeals reversed an earlier decision against our client, ruling her Seniority Agreement legally binding. The evidence in the case was a series of emails detailing the agreement. Therefore, any contract you enter into regarding your employment, including contingencies in the event of layoffs, should protect your rights.

When the employer breaches one of these written contract terms, California employment laws provide remedies for the employee. These remedies may include lost wages and benefits if an employment contract ends early due to the employer’s actions.

California Breach of the Implied Employment Contract Cases

An implied employment contract is far more common than a written employment contract. Implied employment contacts occur when circumstances imply that a contract exists and there are oral statements that support these implications. Some circumstances that give rise to an implied contract are:

  • Fringe benefits programs
  • Length of service
  • Disciplinary policies

The remedies for breach of an implied employment contract are equivalent to those available for breach of a written employment contract. One of the most common terms of an implied employment contract is the notion that an employer will not fire an employee unless good cause exists.

California is an at-will employment state, which means that an employer can fire an employee for no reason or any reason that does not constitute employment discrimination. However, the implied employment contract assumes that an employer will not fire an employee for no good reason. In this circumstance, then, the breach of the contract would occur when the employer fires an employee, and the employee feels that the employer wrongfully terminated him or her.

Breach of the Oral Employment Contracts and Verbal Agreements

Oral employment contracts are among the most problematic issues in employment law. This is simply because they may be totally unenforceable. Typically, the spoken words of the parties are the only proof of an oral contract.

In an oral employment contract dispute, each party likely believes a different version of the events that actually occurred. With little or no concrete proof of the existence of an oral employment contract, it is extremely difficult to prove that a breach of the contract occurred. Learn more about enforcing oral contracts in California here.

Contact a Los Angeles Breach of Contract Lawyer

No matter the type of employment contract involved, an employee who believes that his or her employer has breached a contract may have legal remedies under California employment laws. A Los Angeles breach of contract lawyer ensures you receive all of these remedies through the legal system. He or she can give you guidance through any litigation related to the breach of an employment contract. Submit a confidential claim review form, or call us today to schedule your free employment law attorney review.