An employment agreement is a legal agreement documented in writing between an employer and their employee that creates a contract between them and explains the terms of employment. An employment contract may include any of the following:
- Contact information, including the names, phone numbers, emails, and/or other identifying information of all parties involved.
- Disclosure of wages and/or benefits.
- Terms of employment, including work to be done and days the employee is expected to work.
- Term of the arrangement, including if employment is to automatically end after a given period of time or under what conditions employment may be terminated.
- Retirement or termination procedures.
Most employers have the same contract for the majority of their employees. In certain situations, a unique contract may be drawn up for a special position or to suit requirements of a particular candidate for a position.
What is a Breach of Employment Agreement?
A breach of an employment agreement happens when any of the terms of the agreement or contract are not followed by one or more of the parties involved. Lots of things can happen to cause a breach of employment agreement. Some examples include:
- The employer failing to pay wages or offer benefits as explained in the contract.
- Not offering time off per stipulations in the contract.
- Terminating an employee for an invalid reason against the terms of how employment may be ended in the contract.
- Refusing agreed upon retirement benefits.
- An employee disclosing information that is protected to a third party, for example, trade secrets or other confidential information.
- Unfair competition, such as if an employee leaves the company before the end of the term of the contract and enters into direct competition with that company, especially if using proprietary information to compete.
- Any other breach of the contract that causes monetary or other measurable damages.
There are many ways that a breach of employment agreement may take place. Depending on the severity of the damages caused, it may be a good idea to seek legal representation whether you are an employer or employee dealing with such a breach.
What Legal Remedies Are Available?
The legal recourse available in the case of a breach of employment agreement depends on the violation that occurred within the contract. In example, if wages were not paid as agreed, compensation will be due in the amount of what was owed. Additional damages may be awarded if the wages not being paid on time can be found to have caused significant damages by not being paid timely as agreed without legal remedy.
You do not need to cease working for a company to seek legal recourse against them, but this is often what occurs due to the fact that employees will not feel comfortable working for their employer after having to sue them. Alternatively, the employer may fire the employee for frivolous reasons upon discovering their employee is seeking legal remedies. It’s important to understand your rights as an employee in that if you are fired seeking legal recourse for a true violation of the terms of an employment agreement, you may not only be due damages from the violation but additional damages for being unjustly fired. Similarly, an employer could seek additional damages if the violation of an employment agreement by an employee caused damages to the company beyond just the general scope of the violation.
Lots of factors can influence the damages due from the violation of an employment agreement. For this reason, your best option is to consult with an employment attorney or business litigation attorney for information on your rights and the legal recourse available to you.
What Should I Bring to My Attorney?
Your attorney will advise you regarding the entire scope of what will be needed to prove your case, but for the first consultation, here’s a quick list of what to bring:
- A copy of the employment agreement. If you are an employee and no longer have a copy for any reason, you can request one from your employer and they should be willing to give you one.
- Any additional documentation that was signed upon your employment, or the employment of the employee.
- Documentation confirming the breach of the agreement. If hours weren’t worked as agreed, bring copies of the employee’s work schedule and when the employee was actually shown to be at work. If you are the employee and wages weren’t paid as agreed, bring copies of pay stubs.
- Any other documentation proving your case, including written or audio recorded evidence.
Again, your attorney will help you further if you’re not sure what to bring beyond what is described above. Different circumstances will require different documentation.
Need an Attorney for a Breach of Employment Agreement?
WB Law Group is a reputable business litigation firm with experience in matters involving California law, such as a breach of employment agreements. If you feel you need legal representation, we are happy to review your case and provide consultation.
For questions, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at 559.431.4888 (Fresno) or 619.399.7700 (San Diego). You may also reach us by email: office@WebbLawGroup.com. See our website wblawgroup.com for more information.