Defenses to Breach of Employment Contract
My Employer Has Accused Me of Breaching My Contract. What Should I Do?
If you have been accused of breaching any type of contract, you may be liable to the other party for damages. If the terms of the employment contract are clear you may feel there is no way to get out. However, one way to defend yourself is to argue that the contract was void, meaning it is no longer valid.
How Can I Show That My Employment Contract Is Void?
You might be able to prove that the employment contract is void if one of the following things played a role in your negotiations with your employer:
- Mistake - if the parties are mutually mistaken about information that is crucial to the making of the contract, their contract will be considered void
- Fraud - if you sign the contract based on false information presented to you
- Duress - if you are coerced into signing an employment contract
- Undue influence of one of the contracting parties over the other
- Unconscionability of the contract - where the contract itself is so one-sided or unfair as to make the agreement void
What Else is Available to Me if I Am Accused of Breaching My Employment Contract?
If you are accused of breaching your employment contract, you might also allege the following to reduce or completely negate your liability:
- Duty to mitigate damages - your employer must do whatever they can to minimize their own damages rather than letting them get worse and then suing you to recover their total loss
- Prior breach - you may defend your breach of contract by proving that your employer previously breached your employment agreement in some way
- At-will employment - if you are an at-will employee, you may be allowed to terminate your employment contract at any time.
- Statute of limitations - your employer has a limited amount of time to sue you for breach of contract after that breach has occurred
- Unforseeable damages - the damages being alleged were unforeseeable to you. For example, it is foreseeable that your employer would have to hire a replacement, therefore you might be held liable for any costs involved in doing so. It is not foreseeable that your employer would suffer severe emotional distress from having to hire your replacement, so you would not be liable for his injury.
- Contracts with an unlicensed person - if you were employed to do work that you are not licensed to do, that contract is void
- Covenant of good faith and fair dealing - you may argue that you breached your employment contract due to your employer's failure to comply with the covenant of good faith and fair dealing
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Employment Breach of Contract Issue?
Employment contract law is a complex and often confusing area of the law. If you are accused of breaching your employment contract, you should contact an attorney with employment litigation experience who can defend any action brought against you.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 03-14-2011 02:55 PM PDT
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