If you have an oral or written employment contract with your employer, you may be able to take legal action against your employer if you believed that there has been a breach of contract.
A successful claim can compensate you for the financial losses that are a direct result of the breach of contract. You will need evidence that a breach of the agreement has taken place.
If your employer has already advised you that a breach of your employment agreement is imminent, then written notice of this information will probably be sufficient.
What to Do If Your Employer Breached Your Contract
You will first need to check very carefully through your employment contract to determine where and how a breach of contract has taken place.
You will also need to identify and calculate how this has affected you financially. When you think you have sufficient evidence of a breach of contract then you have grounds to take legal action.
It will make a lot of difference if you use an employment lawyer to help you with any claim. The lawyer can help obtain evidence of a contract breach for example and advise you about the state’s statute of limitations.
Each state limits the time available for a claim for damages in the event of a breach of contract. This is usually quite long and could be anything between 3 and 12 years or more depending on the state.
Types of Damages Awarded in Breach of Contract
There are four different types of damages that can be awarded in a breach of contract case as described below.
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded. They are compensation for the direct financial loss caused by the breach of contract.
This, for example, could take the form of payment for overtime that has not been paid or has been underpaid, or increased salary because of promotion that has not been paid.
Restitution may be ordered by the court if it can be proven that your employer has breached your employment contract. Restitution is different from compensatory damages because it goes further than just compensation for what has been lost in the agreement.
For example, in addition to lost wages, it may include compensation for any property that has been damaged or medical treatment that might have been needed because of the breach.
Punitive damages may be awarded by a court if there has been clear evidence that the breach of contract was egregious.
The damages would most likely be in addition to compensatory damages or restitution for financial loss resulting from the breach of contract. Punitive damages, therefore, are intended to punish the breaching party and serve as a warning to other parties about the consequences of breaching a contract.
Specific performance may be ordered by a court when it has been proven that a breach of contract has taken place. Instead of paying compensatory damages or restitution, the court may order the employer, as the breaching party, to fulfill the part(s) of the contract that have been breached.
Speak with an Employment Law Attorney
It can be stressful when your employment contract or agreement has been breached by your employer. You may not be confident that you can go it alone with taking your employer to court to pay damages.
You should talk to an employment law attorney before initiating any legal action. The attorney can examine your agreement and assess what parts of it have been breached.
You will need solid evidence that the contract has been breached which is something that the attorney can help with. Finally, an experienced attorney can represent you in court on your behalf.