Whenever you go to work, whether in an office, a retail shop, or a construction site, you are in a contract of employment. An employment contract is a binding agreement that specifies the agreed-upon terms between the employee and the employer such as:
- Pay rate
- Time of work
- Duties and responsibilities
- Job benefits
- Job processes
- Grounds for termination
- Non-compete or non-disclosure agreements
- Confidentiality clauses
However, there will be times when you’ll be unable to uphold your end of the bargain. Intentional or not, this can be interpreted as a breach of contract. There are many ways that you can breach your employment contract. The most common ones are failing to provide competent or acceptable services, and when employees seek greener pastures in the form of other employment opportunities even before their contract term is completed. Another prevalent cause is when employees divulge confidential information about the company, its products, and services.
Let’s briefly discuss each one:
1) Failure to provide adequate services
In any job, you are expected to perform or conduct your duties and responsibilities to a specific standard. There will be times, though, that you will not be able to. This may be a breach of contract. However, these instances are considered minor and can be resolved internally, and without the need for a legal proceeding.
A company can resolve a supposed breach on the part of an employee by instigating disciplinary proceedings to put the matter to bed. In most cases, a conversation with either your direct supervisor or human resources personnel can fix this type of issue, without the need for a more formal procedure.
2) Seeking other job opportunities even before your contract is up
Depending on your level of experience and expertise, your next employment contract might have a “length of employment” clause. This means you have to work with a company for a set period. Until then, you can’t enter into any employment contract with another company or risk getting hit with a breach of contract lawsuit.
However, there are some cases when the relationship between employer and employee become so untenable, that there is no other recourse for resolution but mutual parting. But even under these circumstances, you must still make sure that your employment status with the previous company is clarified before you sign on the dotted line of another contract.
3) Disclosure of confidential information
Employment confidentiality agreement laws allow an employee and an employer to enter into a contract involving the use of sensitive or private information while the former is working for the company. This confidentiality agreement usually stipulates that you can’t divulge any trade secrets, stock information, processes, etc., with anyone outside of the organization. Breaching this provision may mean termination from your job and even other legal sanctions.
An important thing you should take note of is different states may have different labor laws, and so, you must do a little bit of research on how the law in your state might govern the terms of your contract before you sign on the dotted line.