Overview of Our Breach of Employment Contract Services

Breach of Employment Contract Legal Services

Facing challenges with a breach of employment contract? Our experienced business attorneys in Chicago are here to help. We understand the complexities of employment and contract law and are dedicated to providing effective solutions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you in resolving your employment contract issues.A properly drafted employment contract can be an extremely beneficial agreement for both the employer and the employee. However, when disputes arise over an employment contract, it is important to know your rights. Our litigation attorneys handle various disputes regarding employment contracts.

What is an employment contract?

An employment contract is a legal document between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. The contract typically includes information such as the job title, job description, salary, benefits, working hours, vacation time, and any other relevant details related to the employment.

Employment contracts are designed to protect the interests of both the employer and the employee by establishing clear expectations and responsibilities for each party. The contract can also provide a mechanism for resolving disputes that may arise during the employment relationship. Employment contracts may be written or verbal, but written contracts are generally preferred because they provide a clear record of the terms and conditions of the agreement. In some countries, such as the United States, employment contracts are not required by law for most jobs, but they may be required in certain industries or for specific positions.

Requirements for Employment Contract In Illinois

There are several requirements that must be met to ensure that an employment contract is legally binding and enforceable in Illinois:

  • Offer and acceptance: The contract must include an offer of employment and an acceptance of that offer by the employee. The offer must be clear and specific, and the employee must accept the offer in writing or through some other means that can be documented.
  • Consideration: The contract must include consideration, which means that the employee is receiving something of value in exchange for agreeing to the terms of the contract. This could be a salary, benefits, or other forms of compensation.
  • Clarity: The contract must be clear and specific about the terms and conditions of employment. This includes details such as job duties, compensation, benefits, and working hours. The contract must also specify the length of employment if it is for a fixed term.
  • Legal compliance: The contract must comply with all applicable state and federal laws, including minimum wage and overtime laws, anti-discrimination laws, and other employment-related regulations.
  • Signatures: The contract must be signed by both the employer and the employee to indicate that they have read and agreed to the terms of the contract.

Certain types of contracts and contractual provisions, such as non-compete agreements, have additional requirements in Illinois. For example with non-compete agreements, the employee agrees to refrain from engaging in certain competitive activities after their employment ends. With non-solicitation agreements, the employee is prevented from contacting the employer’s clients or other employees following the end of the relationship. Both non-compete agreements and non-solicitation agreements are frequently used in Illinois, and there are a number of important considerations and requirements for both types of agreements.

Elements for Breach of Employment Contract

A breach of an employment contract occurs when either the employer or the employee fails to meet the terms and conditions set out in the contract. The following elements must generally be met to establish the breach of an employment contract: (1) Existence of a valid contract: There must be a valid employment contract in place between the employer and the employee. (2) Breach: The employer or employee has failed to fulfill their obligations under the contract (i.e. the “breach”). (3) Material breach: The breach must be a material breach, which means that it is a significant breach of an essential term of the contract. (4) Damages: The breach must have caused damages to the other party. For example, if an employee was wrongfully terminated in breach of a contract, they may be able to recover damages such as lost wages, benefits, or other compensation. (5) Causation: The damages must have been caused by the breach of the contract. (6) Mitigation: The employee must have taken reasonable steps to mitigate their damages, meaning that they made a good faith effort to find new employment or otherwise minimize the harm caused by the breach.

Remedies for Breach of Employment Contract

Some common remedies for breach of employment contract include:

  • Damages: The non-breaching party may be entitled to damages to compensate them for the harm caused by the breach. This could include lost wages, benefits, or other compensation that the non-breaching party would have received if the contract had been fulfilled.
  • Injunctive relief: In some cases, the non-breaching party may seek injunctive relief to prevent the breaching party from continuing to breach the contract. For example, an employee who was wrongfully terminated in breach of a contract may seek injunctive relief to be reinstated in their job.
  • Specific performance: In certain situations, the court may order the breaching party to perform specific obligations under the contract. For example, if an employer breached a contract by failing to provide certain benefits, the court may order the employer to provide those benefits to the employee.
  • Rescission: In some cases, the non-breaching party may seek to rescind the contract, meaning that the contract is terminated and the parties are released from their obligations under the contract.
  • Signatures: The contract must be signed by both the employer and the employee to indicate that they have read and agreed to the terms of the contract.

The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and Employment Contracts

The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) regulates the payment of wages to employees. The IWPCA sets out certain requirements for employers regarding the payment of wages, and these requirements may be incorporated into an employment contract.
Under the IWPCA, employers in Illinois are required to pay wages to employees on a regular basis, in accordance with the terms of the employment contract or the employer’s established policy. The IWPCA also requires employers to provide written notice to employees regarding their rate of pay, pay period, and other details related to the payment of wages.

Employment contracts in Illinois may include provisions related to the payment of wages, including the frequency of payment, the amount of pay, and any other details related to the payment of wages. If an employer fails to comply with the terms of the employment contract or the IWPCA, an employee may have a claim for breach of contract or a violation of the IWPCA.

If an employee has a claim for unpaid wages or other violations of the IWPCA, they may be entitled to remedies such as back pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Defenses to Breach of Employment Contract

Common defenses to breach of employment contract are similar to other breach of contract defenses, and include:

  • Impossibility of performance: If the non-breaching party made the performance of the contract impossible, the breaching party may be excused from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. For example, if an employee is unable to perform their duties due to a disability, the employer may be excused from continuing to employ the employee.
  • Illegality: If the performance of the contract would require the breaching party to engage in illegal activity, they may be excused from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.
  • Mutual mistake: If both parties were mistaken about a material fact that was essential to the contract, the contract may be voidable or rescinded.
  • Waiver: If the non-breaching party waived their right to enforce a particular provision of the contract, the breaching party may be excused from fulfilling that provision.
  • Failure to mitigate damages: If the non-breaching party fails to take reasonable steps to mitigate their damages, they may be barred from recovering certain damages caused by the breach.

Filing a Complaint for Breach of Employment Contract

If you believe that your employer or employee has breached an employment contract in Illinois, you may be able to file a complaint for breach of contract. Here are some general steps for filing a complaint:

First, consult with an attorney: Before filing a complaint, it is important to consult with an attorney who can review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action. An attorney can also help you draft the complaint and ensure that it complies with the requirements of Illinois law. Second, identify the breach: In your complaint, you will need to identify the specific terms of the employment contract that were breached and how they were breached. You should include as much detail as possible to support your claim. Third, draft the complaint: Your complaint should be in writing and filed with the appropriate court. The complaint should include a statement of the facts, a description of the breach, and a request for relief. It is always a good idea to have legal counsel draft complaints and other legal documents. Fourth, serve the complaint on the defendant(s). Once the complaint is filed, you will need to serve a copy of the complaint to the other party. This can be done through various methods, such as personal service, certified mail, or other approved methods.

If and when the defendant responds to the complaint, the plaintiff may be required to respond to counterclaims or affirmative defenses. You will need to timely respond to any counterclaims or defenses in order to continue with the case. Again, it is always a good idea to have legal counsel in these circumstances.

Once the parties have answered and responded to the pleadings, the case will proceed to written and oral discovery. Eventually and if the case is not settled or otherwise disposed of through motion practice, the case will proceed to trial. At trial, each party will have an opportunity to present evidence, witnesses and arguments in support of their position.

Other Options for Addressing Breach of Employment Contract Disputes – Alternative Dispute Resolution

Employment contracts can have provisions requiring alternative dispute resolution in the event of a breach, including mediation and arbitration. Our breach of contract attorneys can provide guidance on the specific requirements and procedures for your case.

Alternative dispute resolution can end up being a more private, less costly, and more efficient alternative to litigation. Even without a provision or agreement requiring arbitration or mediation, the parties can agree to mediate or arbitrate a dispute.

Mediation of Employment Disputes

Mediation can be used to resolve disputes related to employment contracts. Mediation involves a neutral third party, the mediator, who works with the parties to facilitate a resolution to the dispute. Mediation is often a preferred method for resolving disputes related to employment contracts because it can be more efficient, cost-effective, and less adversarial than traditional litigation. During mediation, the parties have more control over the outcome of the dispute and can work together to find a mutually agreeable solution.

In Illinois, the courts encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, to resolve disputes related to employment contracts. Parties can voluntarily agree to participate in mediation or the court may order mediation as part of the litigation process.

The mediation process typically involves (1) the selection of a mediator: The parties select a mediator, often with the assistance of an attorney or a mediation service. (2) Preparation: Before the mediation session, each party will typically prepare a brief that outlines their position and identifies the issues that need to be resolved. (3) Mediation session: The mediator will work with the parties to identify the issues and explore possible solutions. The mediator may meet with each party separately or bring the parties together to facilitate discussion and negotiation. (4) Agreement: If the parties are able to reach an agreement, the mediator will help them draft a written agreement that outlines the terms of the resolution.

If the parties are not able to reach an agreement during mediation, they may still proceed to litigation or pursue other alternative dispute resolution methods.

Arbitration of Employment Disputes

Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used to resolve disputes related to employment contracts. Arbitration is a valid and effective way to resolve disputes related to employment contracts in Illinois. In arbitration, a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears evidence and arguments from both parties and makes a binding decision on the dispute. Arbitration can be a quicker, less formal, and less costly way to resolve disputes compared to traditional litigation. It can also offer greater privacy, as the proceedings and the outcome are typically not made public. However, because the arbitrator’s decision is generally final and binding, parties may have limited options for appeal.

In Illinois, the courts generally recognize and enforce arbitration agreements in employment contracts, as long as they are entered into voluntarily and without coercion. Employers and employees can agree to arbitration as a way to resolve disputes related to employment contracts, either as a stand-alone agreement or as part of an employment agreement.

If the parties agree to arbitration, the parties will typically first select an arbitrator. The parties can either agree on an arbitrator or use an arbitration service to select a neutral arbitrator. Each party will then prepare memoranda that outline their position and identifies the issues that need to be resolved. At the arbitration hearing, the arbitrator, much like a judge in court, conducts a hearing where both parties present evidence and arguments. The hearing is typically less formal than a court trial but still involves the presentation of evidence and witnesses. The arbitrator will make a final decision on the dispute, which is often fully binding on the parties.

Contact Our Chicago Business Attorneys

Dealing with a breach of employment contract situation? Our Chicago business attorneys have significant experience in a wide range of employment contract disputes. We represent clients throughout the Chicagoland area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Will, and Winnebago counties. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us online or call us at 312-789-5676.