Definition of employment contracts and what constitutes a breach

There are specific laws that dictate who is to be considered an employee and how that relationship is to be regulated. Additionally, there are also degrees of what can be considered breaches of those employment contracts. If a California worker believes that he or she has been a victim of a breach on the part of an employer, he or she does have the right to seek a remedy.

Due to the type of workplace, one may be an employee, an independent contractor or even a leased employee. Regardless of the type of work scenario, there are laws that apply in order to afford protections to both parties. Once employment has been contracted, it matters not if the contract is written or oral, only that the parties acknowledge that the contract is in force. There are at-will work situations and then defined contracts that cannot be broken without a breach occurring. Conversely, even an at-will employee has rights when facing a termination or a justified resignation.

A breach of contract can be a major breach or a minor one. A major breach nullifies the contract or work agreement, and the wronged party may seek a remedy either through the employment laws or other options. These breaches may apply to situations involving pay or other serious matters. A minor breach is one that does not cause either party to suffer harm or loss and may not be considered a valid reason to terminate employment.

Some of the laws that govern employment contracts include wage and hour, contract and discrimination laws. The form of the contract is not the defining issue -- only that both parties are in agreement that the contract governs the work relationship going forward. If one believes that the actions or decisions of an employer has violated California laws concerning one's rights, then he or she is entitled to consult with an employment law attorney in order to find the best resolution to the problem.

Source: edd.ca.gov, "Preface PR 15 - Employment contracts", June 3, 2017

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