Can an employer terminate a contract that has already been fulfilled by the employee becauseit no longer want to pay the employee?

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Can an employer terminate a contract that has already been fulfilled by the employee becauseit no longer want to pay the employee?

I’m a teacher employed with a corporation on an annual contract (August – August). My contractual obligation is to work 190 days, which was completed by me at the beginning of last month. I recently informed them that I will not renew my contract for the upcoming school year, so the corporation decided to terminate the existing contract, effective immediately. Since I fulfilled my contractual obligation, can they terminate the contract a month early simply because I’m not returning to teach the following year?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Both parties are bound by the terms of the contract. Therefore, if you have a 190 day contract, it may only be terminated early in the following situations:

1) There is some clause, term, or provision of the contract itself allowing for early termination, and the party terminating obeys that term, etc. and terminates the contract in accordance with it. For example, if there is a clause allowing termination on a certain number of days notice, that could be done.

2) The other party has his-, her-, or itself materially breached (i.e. violated an important term of) the contract, in some fashion that would allow or justify termination as a response.

Barring the above, the contract should be binding for the full 190 days, and you may have recourse if they don't honor it.


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