Before signing an employment contract, you should understand exactly what it entails. We know that starting a new job can make you nervous and miss out on the details that can be detrimental to your future. Unfortunately, these issues don’t become apparent until it’s too late or when a party breaches the contract.

At Bantle & Levy, we will negotiate, draft, and review employment contracts to ensure you receive what you deserve.

What Should A New York Employment Contract Include?

New York is an at-will employment state, which means your employer can fire you for any non-discriminatory reason. However, your offer letter and employment contract can create the roadmap for your employment with the company for any future changes or challenges that may occur.

There are integral components of your employment contract that you will want, including the following terms and conditions:

  • Position title, duties, and responsibilities
  • Compensation, including weekly or biweekly pay, any bonuses, etc.
  • Availability/participation in corporate plans
  • Benefits and when they will take effect, including medical/dental/vision, disability, life insurance, and retirement benefits
  • Grounds for termination and severance benefits due
  • Requirements of non-compete agreements, non-solicitation, and nondisclosure agreements

If you are in a union, you will also need a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

What Constitutes an Employment Contract?

While having a tangible, written, or printed contract is always the best option, other documents and methods of communication can constitute a legally binding employment contract.

If a conversation, email, text message, etc., contains relevant language and benefits, it may constitute a legally binding contract. This may include what starts as an in-person exchange but continues to email where you list what you need, your employer counteroffers, etc.

To be an employment contract, it must include an offer, an acceptance of the offer, consideration, and intention.

Employment Contract Violations: Breach of Contract

If you have a legally binding contract in New York, and your employer breaks any term(s) of that contract, you may have a breach of contract claim.

To prove a breach of contract in New York, you must prove the following:

  • 1. A contract exists between two parties.
  • 2. The material performance of the contractual obligations.
  • 3. One party failed to materially perform under the contract obligations.
  • 4. Damages resulted from the party not performing under the terms of the contract.

However, there are also a variety of breaches of contract that may occur. These include:

  • Minor/Impartial Breach: The entire contract is not breached, only part of it.
  • Material/Total Breach: The breach impacts both parties so much that the contractual obligations can no longer be fulfilled.
  • Anticipatory Breach/Repudiation: When one party communicates to the other that they can not fulfill their obligations under the contract.

What Can Be Awarded in a Breach of Contract Case?

Two types of damages may be awarded in a breach of contract. They are compensatory damages or actual damages, and consequential damages or special damages.

Compensatory damages are given to the non-breaching party as if the breach never occurred. This may include giving the money to cover the cost of goods and services that the breaching party would have otherwise provided.

Consequential damages are given for loss of business due to the breach.

In addition, parties may also recover nominal or liquidated damages.

  • Nominal Damages: Small amount of money to show that the non-breaching party was in the right.
  • Liquidated Damages: The amount of money that has been agreed upon should the breach occur.

In New York, there is a duty to mitigate damages by each party. So, if the non-breaching party does not do anything to mitigate their loss, they may not recoup damages.

Because of the intricacies of contract law, it is important to have a contract and breach of contract attorney guide you through the process.

Breach of Contract? Contact Bantle & Levy LLP.

If you have experienced a breach of contract, contact the New York breach of contract attorneys of Bantle & Levy LLP. Our employee rights law firm will help you navigate contract negotiations and stand by your side if legal action is needed in a breach of contract claim.

Contact us today to obtain representation.

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