Los Angeles Employment Contract Violation Lawyer
Most employers in California do not have to give their employers any promises or guarantees regarding their employment. The majority of employees in California are classified as “at-will.” This means that they can be let go from employment at any given time. However, some employees have contracts that spell out details of their employment including their salary and length of employment.
When an employer violates the terms of an employment contract, the wronged employee may be able to pursue damages. If your contract has been violated or breached, please contact Strong Advocates to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.
What is an Employment Contract?
Generally speaking, California employees work “at will.” Some employment contracts don’t actually change that relationship. For example, an offer letter when an employer describes the position and salary details stating that the employee will work at will, does not amount to an employment contract. The employer can still end the relationship without a breach.
On the other hand, when a contract clearly states the term of employment and penalties the employer faces for ending the contract early, the employee has the right to sue for a breach or violation of such a contract. For example, if an employee is hired for a two-year term, he or she cannot be fired during that term, unless there was gross misconduct or criminal conduct involved or the employee violated some other provision in the contract. Some contracts state that an employer can end the relationship on 90 days’ notice or pay when such a notice is not provided.
When is a Claim Appropriate?
Before moving forward with a contract violation lawsuit, it must be determined if your contract was legal in the first place. You and your employer have the right to include any legal terms you wish in your contract as long as they do not violate any local, state or federal codes, ordinances or laws. It is perfectly acceptable to include a guaranteed amount of money and length of employment. However, it is not legal to have a contract, for example, that requires you to commit a criminal act in order to receive payment or to waive certain unwaivable legal rights. In such cases, the contract — or parts of it — is not enforceable.
Once it is determined that there was a legal contract, the reason for the contract should be examined. If the employer knowingly entered into a contract with you, you may have a legal claim. If, however, the employer unintentionally created an employment contract — or it’s not in writing — it may be challenging to prove your case in court.
Not all contractual violation cases work in favor of the employee. For example, choosing to break a contract early can prove costly for an employee. Many employers include liquidated damages in their employment contracts. These clauses are created to cover potential damages when an employee leaves early.
Employment contracts also benefit employers when it comes to competition. The majority of employment contracts include non-compete clauses that prevent employees from joining a competitor after the employment is ended. This protects the employer from losing important business secrets and practices. It is possible in some cases to fight the specifics of the non-compete clauses, but you may have to show that the clauses covers too long a time period or too wide a geographic area.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Employment contracts can prove beneficial for employers and employees, but they are also quite complicated to understand. If you have questions about an employee contract or worry that your contract has been violated, make sure you seek out legal guidance. Please contact Strong Advocates for a free legal case analysis to better understand your rights and options. Call us at (800) 870-9886 to find out how we can help you.