What constitutes a breach of contract?
For those who are not aware, a contract refers to a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee. This contract often has certain stipulations that must be upheld by both sides. In addition, each contract has a period during which it may not be unfairly terminated. For example, a breach of contract would be along the lines of an employer refusing to pay the set salary, or an employee refusing to work the set number of hours.
There are certain aspects to a contract that may be verbally agreed. These are harder to prove in court, but they still have a legal basis.
Employer Breaches of Contract
If an employer has breached a contract, it is important for the employee to look through the terms for the specific breach. If there has been a breach, it is best to contact a lawyer. If the issue is not a specific breach, but comes close, it is best to resolve the issue internally.
Before making a claim for breach of contract, here are a few other tools that are at the disposal of both employers and employees to resolve a dispute:
Counseling, Arbitration Services, Mediation, Internal Resolution of Conflicts
Mediation and Arbitration do require legal representation, which we are happy to provide. They consist of two sides stating their arguments and attempting to find a quick resolution. An internal resolution is also possible, and this could spare both sides the legal fees.
It is important to keep in mind that a claim for breach of contract must be fully proved in order to get any financial compensation. There must be evidence to suggest that a financial loss has occurred (this is the case for employers and employees). If an employer or employee has been insulted by the actions of the other party, there will be no compensation in those cases.
Employment Tribunal or Civil Court Case
When an official claim for breach of contract is made, there are two legal ways to resolve the issue. The employer or employee can go through a civil court case, or through an employment tribunal. An employment tribunal is only issued in the case where an employee feels that their contract has been unfairly terminated.
For employees who are still employed, any claim for breach of contract must be taken through a country court. Compensation is unlimited in the civil court cases, if breach of contract can be proven. These cases can be resolved even if an employment contract is still present.
Employee Breaches of Contract
In most employee breaches, employers attempt to resolve the issue internally. This saves them a lot of trouble and money. However, in a case where a mutual agreement is not possible, it is time to take the case to court.
When an employer makes a claim for breach of contract, it is imperative that they prove there was true financial loss. The financial loss also has to be significant, otherwise the case can be dismissed as being frivolous.
There are many examples of cases where damages have been awarded to employers. For example, if an employee quits their position in a day or two, an employer will successfully claim damages related to the costs of hiring a new employee. Similar damages cases have been tried where employees cause damage due to negligence or intentional poor work ethic.
Employers must be composed while preparing a breach of contract case. There are many times where an employer has their pride insulted by an employee, and responds by issuing a breach of contract case. These cases generally result in failure. It is best to see if there was true damage and financial loss, otherwise a case is unnecessary.
Our company operates on a no win, no fee basis. This means that both employers and employees will only have to pay legal fees if their case is successful. This eliminates a lot of the risk associated with running a breach of contract case.