In California, Employment contracts are legally binding agreements that create the employer-employee relationship. An employment contract can either be created by writing, verbal agreement, or because of implied circumstances. When an employment contract proceeds as agreed upon within, the contract is considered performed. Thus, when an employment contract breach occurs, either an employer and/or employee has broken or not performed one of the terms of the employment agreement. An employment contract breach can occur because a verbally agreed upon, implied or written contract term was not upheld by either the employee or employer. A breach may occur if an employee is fired or otherwise terminated without just cause. Furthermore, when a party attempts to modify a contract, what might seem like an contract breach could simply be the addition of a condition or term to the employment contract.
Video on Breach of Contracts with Attorney Daniel Kalish
Different Types of Employment Contract Breaches in Los Angeles
A major contract breach occurs when there is a complete failure, without any justifiable legal excuse, to perform any promise/condition that is part of the underlying employment contract. In Los Angeles, common examples of major breaches include when an employee quits, or is discharged and has the ability to file for unemployment insurance benefits. When the contract is considered non-salvageable, either because one party is unable or willing to continue performance following a breach, a major breach is considered to have occurred. A minor breach is less serious and does not give the non-breaching party the right to consider that the contract has been ended. In the case of a minor breach, the breach can either be condoned or forgiven by the parties.
Terminating An Employment Contract
All employment contracts can be terminated by:
- Extinction of the subject matter of employment;
- Death or legal incapacity of the employee; or
- Expiration of the employment contract’s appointed term.
When an employment contract exists within which the employee’s power is not coupled with the subject matter of the employment relationship, termination by notice is allowed when the employer either dies or becomes legally incapacitated. When an employment contract does not have a specific term, such contract can be terminated by either party, as long as notice is given. An employment contract is considered as having a specified term when employment was agreed upon for any period longer than one month.
In Los Angeles, when there is an employment contract for a specified term the employer can terminate such agreement at any time when it is discovered or apparent that the employee has committed any willful breach of a duty within the course of employment, or that there has been a habitual neglect or continued incapacity to perform employment duties. Similarly, an employee may breach a specified term employment contract at any time when a permanent or willful breach of employer obligations to the employee is committed by the employer. A willful breach of duty is any intentional act, while habitual neglect of duty includes an unintentional act, or even negligent failure that occurs once, or repeatedly.
California Law (including LA) and Damages for Contract Breaches
When an employment contract is found to be breached, California contract law provides for the amount of damages that can be received by the aggrieved party. When an obligation that arises from a contract is breached, the damages to be received are measured as the amount that would compensate the non-breaching party for all of the detriment that was a proximate cause of the breach. It is important to note that damages cannot be received when the nature and origins of the damages caused are not clearly ascertainable.
Los Angeles, California Employment Law Attorneys – Offering Exceptional Legal Assistance
Employment contract breaches can be stressful for both employers and employees. If you believe an employment contract breach has occurred, you may not know where to turn. If this is the case, you should immediately contact the California employment law attorneys here at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP. Our team of employment attorneys has expertise and experience with helping employers and employees receive the damages and compensation they deserve.