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What Kind of Damages Can I Get for Breach of Employment Contract?

By Dan Atkerson on February 15, 2016

Employment agreement contractIf you have an employment contract, and your employer violates that contract, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the breach of employment contract, you could be looking to win some significant damages.

What Counts as an Employment Contract?

Understanding exactly what an employment contract is will help you determine the strength of your case. A written contract, signed by both you and your employer, is the most desirable in this case because it is a physical representation of the binding agreement you share with your employer.

However, written contracts are not the only form of employment contracts. Oral agreements can also be used as a binding statement. Try to find someone around the office who may have heard your boss verbally promise you something that they did not deliver.

In addition to written and verbal contracts, you may also have a case if your employer simply implied a contract. For example, a phrase in an employee handbook that says you will only ever be fired for a cause implies that you won’t be fired “at-will.”

What Constitutes a Breach of Employment Contract?

When one or more of the parties involved in the contract, you and your employer, violates the terms or does not deliver their end of the bargain, that constitutes a breach of contract.

For example, if an employer signs an employment contract that says they will not fire you unless you put three cubes of sugar in your morning coffee instead of two, but they fire you anyway even though you never put more than one cube of sugar in your coffee, then you can sue for wrongful termination and breach of employment contract.

Damages for Breach of Contract

There are a few different types of damages you can sue an employer for in a breach of contract case, including:
  • Compensatory – Compensatory damages include monetary awards for things like pain and suffering caused by the breach.
  • Expectation – These damages represent the money that you expected to make under the contract. For example, your salary and maybe even bonuses.
  • Liquidated – Some contracts include “liquidated damages” clauses, which add monetary value to other losses specific to certain jobs.
  • Punitive – In more severe cases, you may be able to pursue punitive damages, which often have the highest award amounts.
  • Attorney Fees – If your employment attorney wins your case, you may also ask the court to award you more money in order to reimburse you for attorney fees.

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