Employment contracts protect employers and employees. They provide clarity to both parties and outline their responsibilities. Further, they have conflict resolution strategies to be applied should a misunderstanding occur.
It is essential to understand an agreement before signing. Once you sign, it will be binding as long as you work in the company. However, your employer may break the terms of the contract. Here are possible ways in which they can do that.
Paying you less or failing to pay
Employment contracts have a compensation and benefits clause. This section outlines your wages, which should be at or above Illinois’ minimum wage. If your employer pays you less than what you agreed or fails to pay you, they may be in breach of the contract.
It may also be unlawful for an employer to omit or reduce agreed-upon benefits. For example, if they fail to give you sick pay, don’t let you actually take your vacation time or withhold bonuses. Not paying you during a notice period may also be a breach of contract.
Changing working conditions
An employment contract explains the working conditions of an employee. If a change is needed, you should be informed before it’s implemented. It may be a breach of contract if your employer changes your working conditions without telling you, especially if the contract doesn’t have a flexibility clause that allows them to do so.
For example, if you agreed to a remote position, suddenly being told that you have to be in the office three days a week could constitute a breach.
Situations that may lead to dismissal are detailed in the termination clause of an employment contract. If you are dismissed for a cause that is not in the contract, you may have experienced wrongful termination.
Often, wrongful dismissals come after an employee has angered their employer by asserting some right, such as insisting on a safe working environment, filing a workers’ comp claim or complaining about sexual harassment in the office.
A breach of contract by an employer may lead to financial losses. If you believe your employer has broken one or more terms in the employment agreement, get professional guidance to protect your rights.