Breach of Contract Attorneys Beverly Hills & Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Employment contracts are not very common in Beverly Hills, or throughout California, for that matter. These contracts are usually reserved for CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, and other executives within a company. These contracts often outline the terms of employment, the responsibilities of the employee, and complicated retirement and pension accounts. However, other employees may also require a contract for many reasons.
Regardless of the employee’s position, a breach of an employment contract can cause great harm to an employee, including the loss of their job. If your employer has acted illegally, a Beverly Hills, CA, breach of contract employment law lawyer can help you make things right.
What is an Employment Contract?
Employment contracts formally establish the relationship between an employee and their employer. Employment contracts are often in writing, but that is not always the case. Oral and implied contracts can also exist, and employers have a legal obligation to uphold these contracts, as well. When they do not, they can be held responsible for paying damages.
An employment contract can include many different terms relating to the employment position. The most common of these include:
- The term of employment
- Specific pay rates
- The responsibilities of each party
- Contingencies, such as severance packages, to be available in the event the size of the workplace reduces
Employment Contracts For a Specific Time Period
The majority of employees in California are considered at will. This means that employers generally have the right to hire and fire workers for any reason. In many cases, employers do not need any reason at all to terminate someone’s employment. When an employee has a contract, though, it will usually stipulate the term of employment. That is, the document will outline when employment will begin and when it will end. Employers who try to violate this term of the contract and terminate contracted employees before the document stipulates can be held liable for breach of contract.
It is also not uncommon for employment contracts to accompany an employee handbook. These handbooks often detail disciplinary actions, the process to be followed, and when an employee may face such actions. If the employer does not follow this procedure, this also constitutes a breach of the employment contract.
Violations of Public Policy and Wrongful Termination
In California, wrongful termination in violation of public policy occurs when an employer terminates an employee for performing a legal obligation or exercising a legal right, as long as the obligation or right is linked to an important public policy. If you believe your employer has fired you and that the termination is in violation of public policy, you typically must show that the firing violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employment contracts do not have to include a stipulation about the violation of public policy in order to make it a wrongful termination in these situations.
For example, a contracted employee may be in charge of hiring for a company. If the employer instructed the employee not to hire people of a protected class, such as individuals of a certain race, that is a violation of public policy. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against protected classes. Even if this instruction was not included in an employment contract, the employee could still sue for wrongful termination if they refused to comply because it went against public policy.
Recovering Damages when an Employer Breaches a Contract
California law allows you to recover financial compensation, known as damages if you can prove the breach of contract caused you to suffer losses. You can recover many types of compensation after a breach of contract, including expectation damages.
Expectation damages are for the loss of the salary or wages you were expecting but will not receive due to the breach of contract. To obtain these damages, you must show that you try to minimize your loss. As such, even though you may be successful with your wrongful termination case, it is essential to start looking for new employment as soon as possible.
The damages in breach of contract cases are known as general and special damages. General damages refer to a direct breach of contract. Special damages are also a result of the breach, but they are highly dependent on specific circumstances. You can only recover special damages if you can show that your employer was aware of the specific circumstances at the time the contract was drafted.
Not all damages awarded in breach of contract cases are monetary. Specific performance damages may also be awarded, particularly when financial compensation would not make an employee whole. These damages force your employer to take certain actions to make things right.
What to Do After a Breach of Contract?
If you believe your employer has breached your contract, the first thing to do is to talk to them about it. Honest mistakes are bound to happen, and your employer may not have intended or even realized they were breaching your contract. This may not be the case, but it is often beneficial to try to work things out informally.
After speaking to your employer, if you still feel as though the situation has not been resolved, you can try to mitigate your losses. You can do this by considering finding a new job, or you can try to renegotiate your contract. If your employer is unwilling to do this, you may have to take legal action.
It is important to speak to a breach of contract lawyer before starting legal action. A lawyer can advise on whether mediation or litigation can resolve your issue and help you through the most appropriate process.
Call Our Breach of Contract Lawyers in Beverly Hills, CA Today
If you believe your employer has treated you unfairly, our Beverly Hills, CA, breach of contract lawyers at Mehtani Law Offices can provide the sound legal advice you need. Call us now at (310) 776-3590 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.