Can I be released from my job if I have an employment contract?

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Can I be released from my job if I have an employment contract?

I have a signed contract for the upcoming school year. Today, I was told that I was being released from the contract. The actual contract went into affect last month; although I was officially to start next week . I would like to know if I have any legal recourse? I am not receiving any severance pay and was told the paycheck I received last week was my last. The reason I was told was that I was no longer supporting the school, though I was supportive of the children that I taught.

Asked on August 10, 2011 Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Contracts, including employment contracts, are enforceable. If you have a signed contract, it must be honored--or you could recover compensation from the employer, such as some number of months of salary. The only way they could avoid honoring the contract would be:

1) If the contract itself gives them an "out"--some grounds or reasons under which they could not employ you, and those circumstances occur and the employer exercised this right properly under the contract.

2) If you breached or violated your own obligations under the contract in some fashion; if your breach was sufficiently "material"--or important, or core to the contract--that may justify them in terminating the agreement. (This may be where they are trying to go with the claim you are "no longer supporting the school," though you don't need to accept their claim at face value--you may, if you disagree, sue them on the contract and force them to prove it.)

3) There was fraud in creating the contract.

4) The contract somehow does not (provably) represent the actual terms of the agreement you and they had made and which you wanted the contract to reflect.

5) The contract is itself illegal in some way, such as paying you to do something illegal.

You should probably consult with and employment attorney, bringing with you a copy of the contract and all correspondence, other documents relating to your employment, employee manual (if any), etc., for the lawyer to review.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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