Updated November 19, 2020:

Suing for breach of contract employment is a legal remedy with expected damages.

How Are Damages Calculated?

If an employer wrongfully fires an employee, the employee is probably entitled to a compensation for loss of wages. The employee expected to have an amount of money before being fired, so the employee can sue for expected damages.

Although, if the employee breached the contract, the employer may sue for expected damages. For instance, if the employee had to give a 30-day notice as written in the contract, but the employee didn't do this, the employer can sue for damages. The cost of damages is calculated by what it would cost to find a replacement for the former employee.

Limits to a Recovery

There are some limitations that can reduce the damages received or disqualify a case that was brought for breach of contract.:

  • At-will employees may be let go without reason, as long as it's not unlawful.
  • Foreseeable damages are the case when the employer has to find a new employee and the employee a new job because of a breach of contract.
  • Certainty is when verifiable damages can be proved and obvious.
  • Both the employee and employer have to lessen damages by finding a job and hiring a new person respectively.

Some employment contracts do not change the at-will relationship between employee and employer. As an example, an employer sends an email to a prospective employee that mentions the start date, salary, job description, and that the employment is at-will.

If there's an acceptance by the employee, then an at-will relationship is created. Both parties have the right to end the contract. If you have a business, it's best to contact a legal professional for any breach of employment contract issue to advise on the right course.

What Is a Breach of Contract?

A company usually creates a breach of the employment contract to keep the rights of employers and employees. Both are responsible to uphold the contract's rules and maintain it. The contract has to be signed before the person begins working.

Employment contracts establish a written relationship between the employer and employee. If any of the rules in the contract are not followed, this is considered a breach of the contract. The problem comes about when there is a breach but it was not written in the contract, which makes it harder to prove. It's advisable to go over every term in the contract with your employer.

What if an Employer Breaches Contract?

Most employees do not understand their contract terms because they don't take the time to read the contract in detail. If you feel your employer has breached the contract, read the contract terms and make sure this is true. If there are legal terms you don't understand, make sure to find a legal professional to help. You can first talk it over with your employer. If talking it over doesn't work, you can mediate through an agency, and if this doesn't work, you might have to head to court.

Common breaches of a contract include:

  • Non-payment of travel expenses, wages, or holiday or sick pay.
  • Non-payment during notice time, which is the period before leaving the job.
  • Changes to the contract that you weren't aware of and didn't sign for.

Remember that the initial job description, payslips, and staff handbook also help provide evidence in case there is a contract breach.

Suing for Not Providing Notice Before Resignation

Employees who don't provide a notice weeks before signing may be sued for breach of contract by the company. If an employee doesn't do this, the company can suffer while trying to search for someone to replace the employee. Suing an employee may lead to legal actions where the employee would have to pay what is set by the lawyers or company. Mostly, the company doesn't want to head to court as it can lead to bad publicity.

If this employee then starts working for a competitor, the employer can sue for breach of contract. Those employees hired for high positions are likely to have a contract where they cannot work with a competitor should they leave the current company. A breach of contract is a heavy burden for both the employee and employer, as it can lead to a hard time for the current and former firm.

If you need help with suing for breach of contract employment, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.