Terminating an employment contract early in California.

I am a part-time, salaried employee nurse practitioner with an actual written
employment contract for a definite period of time e.g. a one-year contract
which is unexpired still in effect. I want to terminate this contract early. My
direct boss and the CEO/owner of the clinic is erratic and I believe he
makes decisions that are unsafe for patients. Another employee also recently
filed a complaint of alleged sexual harassment – that he groped her at our
holiday party. I did not witness the incident because I had left the party
earlier, though I did see him drinking excessively while I was there. I am
aware that California is an at-will employment state, though my contract
dose specify a one year agreement. Do I have grounds to terminate early
without facing legal repercussions i.e. him suing me for breach of contract?

Asked on January 12, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless your employer has breached you contract, you may not end it early. Accordingly, you are bound by it absent your employer not honoring its obligations in some material way or a term(s) of the contract is for some reason is not legally enforceable. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may only terminate your contract early if the employer breaches its terms in some material (or significant) way. However, as long as the employer honors its obligations under the contract, you are bound to it: other wrongful acts by the employer which are not breaches or violations of your contract have not effect on your contract's enforceability or validity.


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