An employment contract exists whenever a person or organization hires someone to do work and the parties enter into a written agreement governing the terms of employment. Verbal contracts can exist but are rare. The contract itself can be a verbal agreement, a brief written description of responsibilities and pay rates, or a lengthy document that the employee and employer sign.
The most important thing to understand is that every employment contract imposes legally enforceable duties and obligations. When either party violates the terms of the contract, it often makes sense to seek advice and representation from a Columbus employment contract lawyer to figure out what happened and how the breach of contract can be remedied.
Here, we answer five of the most frequently asked questions about breach of employment contracts. If you would like to learn more or think you have a case, call The Friedmann Firm at 614.610.9755 or request a confidential appointment by completing this online contact form.
As employment contract attorneys, we usually take cases for employees. Still, we welcome opportunities to assist employers with preparing contracts that protect their interests while treating workers fairly.
What types of contracts exist between employees and employers?
A basic employment contract spells out what a person is hired to do, what and how they will be paid, and sets certain terms such as location, hours, benefits, and length of employment. The employer largely controls the level of detail that goes into an employment contract unless the employee has representation from a union or other body that can engage in collective bargaining. Preferably, the employee receives, reviews, and signs an employment contract before starting a job.
Some employers also ask employees to enter into nondisclosure agreements and non compete agreements. An NDA restricts the types of information a worker can share with anyone other than the employer. An NCA prevents an employee from taking a new job with certain other employers, which are usually direct competitors of the organization that requests the NCA.
Unionized workers and senior executives may also enter into severance agreements with their employers. The terms of such agreements vary from person to person, but they typically cover separation pay, continuation of health benefits, and payouts for unused leave.
What constitutes a breach of an employment contract?
A breach occurs when either the employee or the employer fails to do what the contract specifies. Examples include the following:
- The employer pays less than agreed or does not pay at all.
- The employer fails to provide promised equipment and training.
- The employer reneges on a promised promotion.
- The employer fails to provide promised benefits.
- The employee fails to carry out job duties that he or she agreed to perform.
- The employee discloses information covered by the NDA.
Who can claim that an employment contract has been breached?
Any person or organization that enters into a contract can claim that another party is in breach. The accusation that a breach has occurred must be credible, however. Partnering with an experienced employment contract lawyer in Columbus to interpret contract terms, gather and organize evidence, and set a strategy for enforcing the contract term that has been breached will prevent an unproductive, possibly contentious, exchange of charges and simple denials.
How does someone prove that an employment contract has been breached?
Each case is different. Having a written and signed contract does make it easier to figure out whether an employee or employer breached the contract but pointing to contract language will not suffice. For a dispute over pay, for example, the employee will need canceled checks or bank statements. A detailed accounting of work hours, testimony from co-workers and managers, and memos and emails may be needed as well. Consulting with an employment contract attorney will clarify the types of evidence required and how to go about collecting it.
What legal remedies exist for breach of employment contracts?
An employer who finds that an employee is in breach of his or her employment contract can take disciplinary action such as requiring additional training or assigning stricter supervision. An employer can also terminate an employee for not fulfilling his or her contractual duties. Enforcing an NDA or NCA generally requires going to court to demand that the former employee pay financial penalties. An employee who has a breach of contract claim usually has to file a civil lawsuit to hold the employer to its obligations. Succeeding with such a lawsuit can result in the award of unpaid wages, monetary damages, and rehiring. A court may also order the employer to update its policies and procedures. Sometimes, an employee will qualify to receive punitive damages, which are noncriminal fines imposed to punish unfair treatment.
Rachel and Dominick were incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. They got back to me quickly, whenever I had questions, which helped me stay calm during a very stressful time. Rachel was confident in her abilities and knowledge of the labor laws, and she was able to secure a settlement for me. If you ever find yourself in a situation that requires you take action against an employer, I would highly recommend the Friedman Firm. There's no one I would recommend more to be in your corner.
If you are in need of an employment attorney, this is your sign to talk to Rachel and Jamie. Amazing!! They handled my case like the true professionals they are! They stuck to a strategy, even when it seemed like it wasn’t going our way and BAM! We get the outcome we wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I will always return to them if I EVER have an employment issue again. Thank you so much for helping me and my family!
Dedicated! Thorough! Detailed! Professional! Personable! I can keep going with the many qualities Pete and his team have. I highly recommend him!!! You won't be disappointed.
I needed an employment lawyer to work through a non compete. Pete at The Friedmann Firm was listed as one of the three best rated employment lawyers on a local website. I called him in the morning and later that night he was on the case and provided sound council through a very tense negotiation. Don’t take a chance with your career, reach out and get good council. Pete was very responsive every step of the way and delivered positive results. I highly recommend Pete and his Firm!
Rachel was top-notch from start to finish. She was responsible, professional, quick to respond to emails, texts or phone calls. She gives it to you straight, which I prefer! She thinks outside the box and is definitely the dog you want in the fight for you. She does not waste time and immediately dives right in to get the best results she can for you. I would highly recommend Rachel and her firm to anyone who wants to get the job done right, the first time, in a professional, compassionate and decisive manner.
My wife used this firm for a matter she had with her former employer. She could not have been more satisfied with their services. They were timely in responses, courteous, and very thoughtful. This was a difficult process for her and Pete made it so much easier by handling all of the details of her case.
Rachel Sabo of The Friedmann Firm believed in me when no one else did & helped me through every step of my legal process. Very happy with the firm’s professionalism & dedication to my case.
I called them with some questions about my employment and Jamie was very helpful. I didn’t need an attorney to handle a case for me - only to help me navigate an issue I was having at work. She answered my questions and I felt she truly listened to me. I’d recommend this firm to anyone looking for an employment lawyer. Thank you!
Pete resolved issues I was having with my employer in a quick and favorable manner. He is also easy to talk to and understands his clients rights AND needs. You’d do right to call The Friedmann Firm.
I had a terrific experience with Rachel. She handled my case in a very professional manner. She made herself available and always kept me updated. Her knowledge of the law is incredible. She took the time to educate me on the legal processes so I understood what was happening with my case. Thank you Rachel for helping me navigate a most difficult situation. I am so thankful to have had you as my attorney. You have my highest recommendation.