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5 Contract Breaches You Should Be Aware of as an Employee

Employment Law / May 1, 2022

Contracts may be intimidating to review when you are accepting a job or position at a company. Some jobs may require non-disclosure agreements, employment contracts, and specific terms and agreements you are expected to abide by upon accepting a new role. Contracts are typically written by and between a company and its legal team regarding the business’ best interests and services.

When an employee faces accusations of a contract violation or breach, it may be very frightening and cause unforeseen circumstances. As an employee, there are several types of contract breaches you should be aware of. An employment lawyer at Hollis Law Firm can help in the case that you are facing the consequences of a contract breach.

What Is a Contract Breach?

There are different kinds of contracts, typically between an employer and employee, to clearly outline the expectations, responsibilities, and understanding of what is required for a job within a company. Since contracts are legally binding agreements, when terms of the contract are not fulfilled or broken, there may be legal repercussions.

There are a few elements that make an enforceable contract, which are:

  • An agreement is made through acceptance of a valid offer.
  • An arrangement is of mutual understanding.
  • Communication is made for each party that consents to the agreement.
  • The contract is executed and delivered with the intent of being legally binding for both parties.

While contracts and agreements may help the interests of a company, they are documents that can affect the actions and abilities of employees within a business. If a contract is broken in any way, employees are subject to any consequences or disciplinary action as an employee.

Types of Contract Breaches to Be Aware Of

Upon accepting a position, you are typically introduced to a company’s policies and employee expectations. Depending on your line of work, a contract breach may occur, such as by missing a deadline. When this occurs, employees need to understand their rights and their options. An employee can be mindful of the many types of contract breaches when evaluating a binding agreement.

Anticipatory

An anticipatory breach occurs when one party is already aware they cannot meet the requirements and expectations outlined in the contract and go along with the agreement anyhow. If an employee has intended to abandon or not complete the contract knowingly, they may be required to pay for any damages caused due to the breach without needing to wait for the deadline of the agreement to be met. 

Minor

A minor breach is when the employee or one party delivers the services they agreed to, but there is a breach in the deadline or minor terms of the contract. If time is an essential factor in the contractual agreement, the consequences may be to receive a cut in pay or be required to pay for the damage done due to breaching the contract. A minor breach may not significantly impact other parts of the agreement, but is still considered a breach due to a lack of employee performance according to the set terms.

Material

If one party alters the deliverables, materials, or items expected as per the agreement, they are in breach of contract. A material breach is also one in which the employee may copy a company’s information without permission, even if there is no disclosure or misuse. This kind of breach is typically a violation of specific terms in an agreement.

Actual

When one party fails to meet the entirety of the contract, it is considered an actual breach. For example, if an employee or vendor has agreed to provide a service or deliver a specific product on a particular day, and neither the product nor service is given, it is an actual breach. Employers and plaintiffs can agree to a new contract, seek mediation, or sue for damages in a court of law. This also may result in an employee losing their job due to their low performance.

Mutual

Both parties may agree to breach the contract and void it in a mutual agreement. Markets and conditions may change that warrant a new contract with new terms and conditions, so revoking or annulling the terms can be done. Typically, a mutual agreement to breach the contract is done to avoid both parties’ consequences and start over.

Consequences of a Breach in Contract

Breaching a contract can be scary for any employee, but there are ways to avoid a breach. Employees also have rights, even after termination or signing a contract. Speaking to a Kansas City employment lawyer about the contract and your options may help you avoid the consequences of any circumstances that lead to a breach.

The consequences of breaching a contract may be clearly outlined in the agreement or dealt with in a lawsuit. If a contract is enforceable and handled appropriately, an employee may face the consequences of the damage caused. However, contracts are not always generated correctly, and if the documentation is not handled properly, it may not be enforceable and can be easily withdrawn.

An Employment Lawyer at Hollis Law Firm Can Help You Get the Skilled Legal Advice You Need

At Hollis Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience reviewing the details of contracts. If you are being accused of breaching the terms of a contract with your employer, seeking a skilled employment law attorney can help you face the challenges and evaluate the agreement in depth. Contact our law firm by filling out a contact form or calling (800) 701-3672 to schedule your free consultation.