Employment contracts are legally binding agreements that create an employee-employer relationship. An employment contract can be created by verbal agreement, writing, or out of implied circumstances. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your employment or your employment contract was violated in another way, it is essential that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The Riverside-based HKM Employment Attorneys are prepared to help you understand your options and fight for you.
Employers Have an Obligation to Adhere to the Employment Contract
Unfortunately, many Riverside, California employees sign contracts that their employer later breaches. When a breach of an employment contract occurs, the employee can pursue compensation in court for the damages they’ve suffered. Common examples of breaches of contract that harm employees include the following:
- An employer fires an employee without just cause in breach of the contract
- The employer attempts to modify a contract without the employee’s consent
- The employer fails to pay the employee according to the terms of the contract
- The employer fails to pay hiring bonuses, as required by a signed job offer
Types of Breach of Contract Cases We Handle
HKM Employment Attorneys negotiates and litigates cases for a wide range of employees, from hourly workers to executives. If your employer has offered you a contract, we can review the contract and help you identify any red flags. We can help you negotiate the contract in a fair way that represents your interests.
We can also help you understand your rights and obligations under the contract so you are informed when deciding to sign the contract. If your employer breaches your employment contract, we can help you enforce your rights under the contract. Some of the most common types of breach of contract cases we handle include the following:
- Wrongful termination
- Failure to pay wages
- Basing continued employment on modifications to an employment contract
- Violations of restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements
What Should I Do About a Breach of Employment Contract?
An employment agreement can be breached in part or whole. Either type of breach can be considered a material breach. A material breach results in one of the parties not receiving the benefits of the contract they have agreed upon. As an employee, you will need to prove that the breach is a material breach for your claim to be actionable. Additionally, a mere expression of intent to materially breach an employment contract may be actionable. This type of breach is called an anticipatory breach.
If you are an employee and you anticipate your employer will breach your employment contract or your employer has already breached the contract, the first step you should take is to evaluate whether a breach has or will occur. Discussing your contract with an attorney will help you understand whether you have a valid claim and can pursue legal action. Your attorney will ask you questions about what happened and review the terms of your employment contract. They will consider the following factors:
- The formation of the contract
- The enforceable terms of the contract
- Whether your employer failed to perform the contract
- The consequences of the material breach
- What types of damages you have suffered, and the amount of compensation you may be able to obtain
Riverside Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Breach of contract is one of the most common types of breach of contract cases for employees. When an employer terminates an employee’s employment for no reasons that are not provided for in the employment contract or are protected by California and federal laws, this could be considered wrongful termination. If you were fired for any of the following reasons, you may have a valid breach of contract claim:
- Retaliation for refusing to commit an act or omit something that results in a violation of California or federal laws
- Violation of your civil rights
- Retaliation for making a workers’ compensation claim
- Retaliation for “whistleblower” actions
- Jury service
- Exercise of voting rights
- Non-membership in a labor organization
- Military service
Do I Have a Valid Breach of Contract Claim?
Evaluating the contract to ensure it is a legally binding agreement is important. If the contract you signed is not legally valid, you cannot pursue a breach of contract claim. Once an attorney determines your contract is legal, they will determine whether your employer breached an enforceable provision of the contract. For example, if your employer has not paid you a commission, as the contract requires, you would likely have a breach of contract claim. Your employer’s failure to meet measurable and enforceable terms of the contract will give you grounds to pursue a breach of contract claim.
After determining that the contract is legal and enforceable and has been breached, you must determine whether the consequences are worth pursuing damages. The damages caused by the breach may be nominal or minimal. Further legal action could be more costly than the value of the damages you could obtain.
However, if the breach of the employment contract causes significant financial damage to you, pursuing a claim can help you obtain the compensation you have lost. You may obtain front pay, back pay, compensation for lost employment benefits, and punitive damages. An attorney can help you understand the different types of compensation to which you may be entitled.
Discuss Your Case With an Employment Attorney in Riverside
Employment contracts can be confusing and easily misinterpreted. If you are a Riverside employee and you have been involved in a breach of contract dispute, you will benefit from talking to an experienced attorney. Contacting an expert attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
HKM Employment Attorneys LLP has years of experience in employment law in Riverside, California. Our attorneys can guide you toward the best possible outcome for your case, helping you through this challenging process. Do not accept a settlement or go to court without speaking with a qualified attorney. In most cases, employees only have four years to pursue a breach of contract claim. Call HKM Employment Attorneys LLP today to schedule a case evaluation.