Legally reviewed by: Shereen Murphy Updated:

Breach of Employment Contract

Breach of employment contract
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Legal Backing for Breach of Employment Contract Issues

Cartwright King’s specialist Employment Law team represents both employees and employers, giving you the legal backing you need whether you’re pursuing or defending a breach of contract claim. Benefit from our unique litigation and dispute resolution services to settle contract issues quickly and satisfactorily.

Get in touch with Cartwright King’s Employment Law team now to settle a breach of contract issue in your favour.

What is an Employment Contract?

An Employment Contract is the legally binding contract between employer and employee. Although employers are legally obliged to send employees a written Section 1 Statement setting out their main terms and conditions of employment on or before their start date, some fail to do so. A verbal contract is still legally binding, although it can be more difficult to determine the nature of the agreed terms in cases of dispute. Therefore, the first stage in assessing whether there has been a breach of contract in the employment relationship is to scrutinise the employment contract

Breach of contract and termination of employment

Breaches of contract can lead to Employment Tribunal claims upon termination of employment in the following circumstances:

  • The employer’s conduct breaches a fundamental term of the contract of employment, enabling the employee to resign in response to the breach and claim constructive dismissal.
  • An employee’s conduct, or rather misconduct, is so serious that it breaches the contract of employment, entitling the employer to summarily dismiss for gross misconduct.
  • The employer dismisses the employee without giving notice or pay in lieu of notice or in breach of some other term/s of the contract.
  • The employee breaches restrictive covenants, which typically prevent them from poaching or soliciting business from his employer’s or ex-employer’s clients for a set period after the termination of their employment.
  • The employee resigns without giving his employer contractual notice.

Where to sue for Breach of Contract?

The employee may need to make a strategic decision about whether to sue in the Employment Tribunal or the County or High Court. There are pros and cons to each. Employees can only sue in the Employment Tribunal if their employment has already ended. There is also a limit to the damages that can be awarded for breach of contract in the Employment Tribunal of £25,000.

The time limit for Employment Tribunal claims is three months less one day from the date of the breach. The advantage of the Employment Tribunal is that it is often quicker, simpler and the general rule is that the loser will not need to pay the winner’s legal fees.

If the employee’s breach of contract claim is worth more than £25,000, or the employee is still employed, then they will need to submit a claim to the County or High Court, depending on the value of the claim.

The time limit for submitting a breach of contract claim in these civil courts is six years, although it is unwise to wait so long for submitting a claim. These civil courts are also governed by the Civil Procedure Rules, which are far more complex and formal than the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, but the advantage is that the loser does generally have to pay the winner’s legal costs (although it is unlikely that they would be ordered to pay 100% of the winner’s legal costs).

For Claimants with high-value claims with very strong prospects of success, the civil courts may be the most advantageous venue in which to sue.

How Cartwright King can help with breach of employment contract issues

Cartwright King has a solid reputation for successfully resolving breach of contract disputes and bringing claims to Employment Tribunals. Whether you are an employee or an employer, you can benefit from advice that empowers you to take the best course of action to protect your interests. We can help with:

  • Breach of contract concerning pay – including bonuses
  • Breach of contract by gross misconduct
  • Restrictive covenant issues
  • Resignation without notice

Benefit from a free, initial telephone conversation

Breach of contract issues can sour employee-employer relations leading to a standoff. Knowing where you stand legally can be complex. That’s why you can benefit from a free, 30- minute initial telephone call with a specialist Cartwright King Employment Law Solicitor to discuss what action you can take.

You’re under no pressure to instruct us; this call simply gives you a starting point before you make your next move.

There’s no substitute for speaking to one of our specialist Employment Law Solicitors to get rational, clear guidance to give you an idea of your legal rights and the best course of action to take.

For immediate assistance, call us or email us for your free* initial discussion.

The discussion is completely informal and confidential and is an opportunity for us to:

● Get to know you
● Understand your situation
● Agree how you want to proceed

*Please be aware that this is a ‘get to know you’ call, and no legal advice will be given.

Why choose Cartwright King for breach of contract issues?

Breach of contract issues can get messy, which is why you need professional legal representation backing you and standing up for your rights. You will benefit from our Employment Law team’s unique ability to diffuse situations, resolve disputes constructively, and settle issues in a way that protects your best interests.

Cartwright King will help steady the ship, fighting for you to protect your employment status or your business.

Our advice is backed by our experience of dealing with all manner of employment contract issues.

Our Employment Law Team goes above and beyond to give you the support you need, for added peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

We listen, we understand, and we genuinely care about protecting your job or the integrity of your company. That’s why we offer sound, honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that you’re prepared for the process.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case.

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and ensuring fair treatment throughout the process. When you need us most, we’ll be there to offer sound, sensible legal advice and sure guidance.

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you counsel that you can count on.

Employment Tribunal Fees

Every employment tribunal case is different which is why we can only offer an estimate of costs based on our many years of experience. We provide estimates to show the likely fees you would need to pay to Cartwright King to reach the conclusion of a full hearing at an employment tribunal. (Barristers’ or advocates’ fees to represent you in the hearing itself are extra and set out under the Disbursements section).

Employment Tribunal Fees

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Breach of employment contract: frequently asked questions.

I'm an employee, how do I take action in an Employment Tribunal for breach of contract?

You can only take action against an employer for breach of contract in an Employment Tribunal if your employment has ended.

What breach of employment contract damages can I be awarded?

A maximum of £25,000 in damages can be awarded if your claim is pursued in an Employment Tribunal.

If you’re seeking financial recompense of more than £25,000, or you’re still employed by the company against which you’re taking action, you will need to make a claim with the County Court or High Court (civil courts) – depending on the value of your claim.

Making a claim through the civil courts tends to be more complex compared to an Employment Tribunal, but you have six years in which to submit a claim.

However, should you lose your case in the civil courts, you may be liable for your employer’s legal costs.

Can my employer make a counterclaim?

Employees who wish to sue their employer for breach of contract should bear in mind that the employer would be entitled to countersue them for any breach of contract by the employee.

I'm an employer, how do I pursue a breach of contract claim?

An employer may also sue the employee in certain circumstances. For example, if the employee resigns without working their notice period and the employer has to pay for a locum to cover his work or sustains other losses, the employer can sue for those losses.

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