Can an employment contract be voideddue to a medical condition?

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Can an employment contract be voideddue to a medical condition?

My wife started a new teaching job in August in a deplorable school district. Since then, she has experienced some consistent health problems, most of which have been daily vomiting and diarrhea. After going to a doctor he determined that it was my wife’s job stress that was causing the health issues and he recommended that she leave. The contract that my wife signed has a clause stating that the district will seek damages of $2,000 should she leave mid-year. Despite her health issues, this district wants to withhold her final 2 paychecks as a means to get the $2,000. Do we have a case?

Asked on September 16, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would take the contract to an attorney to review.  Is the provision that you are talking about a voluntary leaving of the position for no reason or is it based upon medical reasons?  Has she considered taking leave pursuant to FMLA?  Check on that.  She could take up to 12 weeks if she and the district are eligible.  This is really a tough call as to how it will all play out and no one can tell you for sure that you will come up a winner.  Maybe she should consider this a non-voluntary termination and seek unemployment benefits too.  Ask your attorney about that in the consultation.  Go and see an employment attorney.  It may be worth the money.  Good luck. 


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