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How to Legally Break an Employment Contract

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As an employer or an employee, you have specific obligations to uphold your employment contract. Even if the contract is verbally implied, both employer and employee are bound by that contract. It can be difficult to get out of an employment contract, but there are ways it can be legally done, which saves you from facing a potential lawsuit for breaching the contract. If you feel the other party in your contract has illegally breached your contract agreement, you may want to hire a lawyer to advise you.

Determine whether the contract is impossible to fulfill. For example, impossibility of performance may result in the event that you suffer a debilitating accident that makes it impossible for you to perform the job you are specifically contracted to do. When a contract is impossible to fulfill, both parties are legally entitled to break the contract.

Determine if fraud or misrepresentation has occurred. In the event that a mistake was made, or one of the parties fraudulently or mistakenly misrepresented himself, the employment contract can be legally broken. For example, an employee claimed to be certified and licensed to perform the job she was hired to do, but she did not actually have the required license. This misrepresentation allows the employer to break the employment contract without facing a potential lawsuit for breach of contract.

Review the original employment contract for an agreement between employee and employer in regard to contract termination. An agreement written into the contract allows either party to terminate the contract after giving written notice. For example, your contract may state you may terminate your employment contract by giving your employer two weeks' notice, allowing them ample time to find someone to replace you.

Look for signs that your contract was breached by your employer. Breach of contract could land you in court if you caused the other party to suffer financial damages because of the breach. For example, an employer agrees to pay employees on a certain date every month, but he consistently pays late. Late payment could lead to overdraft fees and late bill payments that cause the employee to suffer financially. This breach of contract allows you to terminate the employment contract, and seek restitution in court.

Break your employment contract legally if unauthorized changes are made to the original contract. You must be absolutely certain that the original contract does not allow for unauthorized changes to be made in order to consider those changes a breach of contract. An example of unauthorized changes would be an employer who contracted you to work a specific schedule, for example between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but later altered your schedule without appropriate notice.


Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.

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