San Francisco Breach of Contract Lawyers
Safeguarding Employee's Contractual Rights
Contracts play a crucial role in employment relationships. When an employer fails to fulfill their obligations, our team of attorneys is prepared to assist you in holding them accountable for breaching their commitments.
In numerous states, including California, most employment relationships are considered "at-will," meaning employers (and employees) can terminate employment at any time, with or without cause. However, there are instances where employers enter into contracts with employees, granting them additional rights and protections. These contracts can be oral or written, explicit or implicit, and may be individual or collective agreements.
Our San Francisco breach of contract attorneys possess the expertise to help you navigate the possibility of a contract claim. Call today!
Certain employees enter into written contracts with their employers. These written agreements may specify fixed terms of employment or alter the conditions for termination. In such cases, employers may not be able to terminate employees without a valid cause. Contracts can also include provisions that govern employment conditions, privileges, and benefits.
For example, they may pertain to job location, working hours, workload, performance evaluations, disciplinary procedures, and, of course, compensation. In certain circumstances, employee handbooks, manuals, or other documents may create a contractual relationship between the employer and employees, depending on the language used in those documents.
If you are a member of a union, your union's written contract with your employer can provide protection. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) often state that employees cannot be terminated without "just cause." CBAs typically define what constitutes "just cause," including violations of company policies or rules. They also outline the process for determining "just cause" and provide employees with a means to challenge such determinations through a grievance process.
If you are a union employee and your employer terminates you without just cause, you may have grounds for a breach of CBA claim. Similarly, if your employer fails to comply with the terms of your union agreement regarding payment or treatment, you may have a valid claim. Many CBAs have strict timelines for taking action if you believe your rights have been violated.
Implied and Verbal Contracts
You and your employer may have an implied or verbal contract regarding the terms of your employment. Proving these types of contracts can be challenging, but evidence such as emails, letters, phone calls, or other communications can be instrumental in establishing the existence and terms of the contract.
Additionally, an employer's conduct, policies, practices, and statements can create an implied contract with its employees. The longer and more consistent these practices and policies are, the stronger the likelihood of an implied contract. Furthermore, even in the absence of an employment contract, equity may grant employees certain rights. For instance, if you make sacrifices based on your employer's promises, you may be able to hold them accountable for those promises.
What Constitutes a Breach of Contract?
Examples of potential contract violations include:
- Your employer promises to grant you equity shares in the company if you remain employed for three years or more but fails to fulfill this commitment.
- Your employer terminates your employment due to a personality conflict, despite your contract stipulating that you cannot be fired without cause.
- Your employer dismisses you without following a progressive discipline procedure, despite previously promising to adhere to this procedure before termination.
- Your employer pledges to pay you a specific salary or hourly rate but fails to do so.
- Your employer terminates your employment without offering a severance package, contrary to the terms outlined in your employment contract.
- Your employer pays you a 10% commission on sales when your employment contract stipulates that you should receive 18%.
Statute of Limitations for Breach of Contract in CA
In California, the statute of limitations for a breach of written contract claim is typically four years. This means that a party has four years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit seeking a remedy for the breach of contract.
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