Breach of Contract: the basics

By 18th November 2019 Disputes No Comments

Contract/employment law can seem like a complicated area, but it affects almost every worker in the country. DMA Law’s legal specialists explain some of the basics.

All employees have a contract of employment, even on a zero-hours contract. A contract of employment creates important responsibilities that must be fulfilled by all parties that took part in the agreement.

You might not have seen or received this document, but every employment term such as your hours of work, your salary or holiday, is set out in your contract of employment. This can be in writing or you might have discussed it with your employer.

A contract is legally binding when:

  1. An agreement is created – the agreement is developed when a job offer with specific obligations is made to you and it has been accepted.
  2. There is an intention to create legal relations and form a contract which is enforceable by law.
  3. A consideration is made where one party promises to do something in return for a profit promised by the other party.

What counts as a breach of contract?

If the contract is broken or any changes are made to the initial agreements ‘Terms and Conditions’ from either you or your employer that is considered a breach of contract.

For example, if your employer doesn’t allow you to go on holidays for the amount stated on the contract then this would be a breach of your contract of employment.

Making a change to the contract:

If an employer has made a change to the contract employment without getting agreement first, employees may have the right to refuse to work under the new conditions or treat the change as a breach of contract and resign and claim constructive dismissal.

Employees are also able to take the case to an employment tribunal. It very important that employees verbally disagree with any new terms and conditions. Not expressing your disapproval can count as agreeing to the changes.

Should I claim for breach of contract?

If the problem cannot be informally solved, employers or employees have the right to take legal action. However, before pursuing your claim you should evaluate if the claim is a reasonable and cost-effective move for you.

 

It’s important to get proper legal advice before making this decision, litigation can be time consuming and expensive. Contact us today!