What You Can Do About Breach of Employment Contracts in California

Find A California Employment Law Attorney for Breach of Employment Contracts


An employment contract is a document that specifies the terms of employment between an employer and an employee. The employment contract binds both the employer and the employee once it is signed. This means that if one of the parties breaks the contract's conditions, they can be held legally liable for their conduct.

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What Constitutes A Breach Of Employment Contract?


A breach of contract occurs when any of the conditions of your employment contract are violated. This could be whether it's committed by your employer or by you. For example, a breach of contract could occur if your employer fails to pay your wages or if you did not show up for work without sufficient reason.


It may be possible to claim breach of contract if your employer changes the term of your employment contract without consulting you. Check your contract to see if your employer has the authority to make modifications on their own. Any amendments would have to be sensible.


To protect your worker rights, find a California Labor Law Attorney to help.


What Can I Do If My Employer Violate The Contract?


If you believe your employment contract has been violated, the first step is to review the terms of your contract and discuss the issue with your line manager or HR department. Perhaps there was an error (for example, a missing payment by whoever handles payroll) that can be readily rectified.


Here are your options:

  • You can file a formal complaint under your company's complaint procedure if an informal dialogue does not address the apparent breach of contract.

  • You can also seek legal claims if you are unable to address the breach of employment contract internally.

  • You can file a claim with an employment tribunal if your employer has wrongfully withheld earnings or failed to pay your bonus.

  • You can sue your boss for breach of contract in court, but legal expenses can be costly, and you can only sue for the amount of money you lost. In addition, it may not be worth taking any further action if the breach has only hurt your feelings.

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  • Without your consent, your employer may try to amend your contract. As a result, you may need to refuse to work, declare a state of emergency, or take legal action. Otherwise, you can end yourself agreeing to the new contract without even realizing it.

  • You may believe that your employer has treated you so poorly to the point where you have no choice but to resign and file a constructive dismissal claim. However, this can be not easy to prove, so if feasible, seek guidance before resigning.

To seek guidance on the appropriate method for your specific situation, speak with your union representative or a California Labor Lawyer.

How Do You Calculate The Damages?

If a contract is breached, a non-breaching party can request two types of remedies: legal remedies and equitable remedies.

  1. Monetary damages awards, such as compensatory or restitution, are referred to as legal remedies.

  2. Equitable remedies are not based on monetary considerations. Instead, they are court-ordered procedures taken by a judge to address a dispute that cannot be handled through negotiation. For example, equitable remedies for employment contract issues may include:

  3. Rewriting the contract's provisions.

  4. Canceling the contract.

  5. Restoring an employee who was wrongfully terminated to their previous position.

In most circumstances, compensating damages are awarded in the event of a breach of an employment contract.

For example, if an employee's contract requires them to give the employer one month's notice before quitting, they only provided them two weeks' notice. As a result, the employer may claim compensation.

In this case, the overall damages award will be determined by the expense of finding a replacement and any money that may have been received if the employee had stayed.


Another method for calculating compensatory damages is to examine the contract's provisions. For example, an employee may sue their company for expectation damages if they are unlawfully terminated under the terms of their contract.

Expectation damages refer to what a non-breaching party would have received if the contract had not been breached. That usually refers to the amount of missed wages in this case.

Other considerations that can be utilized in assessing damages for breach of contract, aside from the contract itself and replacement expenses, include:

  1. The nature of the breach

  2. What remedies are sought by the non-breaching party

  3. How the dispute is resolved (e.g., in court, through arbitration, etc. )

  4. The value of the losses incurred as a result of the breach

  5. The type of job the employee was hired for

Finally, when it comes to estimating damages for breach of employment contracts, keep in mind that remedies and monetary amounts can differ depending on the terms of the contract, the facts of the case, and the state's laws.


Your California Employment Law Attorney can calculate how much you can sue for.


Is My Right to Recover for a Breach of Employment Contract Limited?

Damages for breach of an employment contract are subject to several restrictions.


A non-breaching party, for example, will only be compensated if they can demonstrate that they experienced a genuine financial loss. In other words, specific claims, such as those involving mental distress or pain and suffering, as well as punitive actions, will not be awarded damages.

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Furthermore, there are several circumstances in which damages for breach of an employment contract may be lowered, or the case dismissed entirely, including:

  1. When there is a legal obligation to offset losses as a result of the breach

  2. If the non-breaching party cannot show that they are entitled to such damages by clear and verifiable evidence

  3. When the employee is an "at-will" employee

  4. If both parties were aware of the potential damages that could result from a violation at the time the contract was made

Find A Employment Attorney in California


No win, no fees! Here at Gency.org, we can help you find a Contingency Lawyer for your Labor Lawyer in California. You can complete our submission form for a free case review.

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