What constitutes “just cause” regarding the termination of an employment contract?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What constitutes “just cause” regarding the termination of an employment contract?

I want to terminate contract early; I need to understand  the termination language in my employment contract. It reads “The contract employee shall, with just cause, have the right to terminate the agreement prior to the termination date with a minimum of 15 working days notice…” “Should the employee terminate without cause, notice approval they shall be liable for any and all costs associated”. I am being considered for a new permanent position in another company.

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is, unfortunately, *no* specific legal definition of "just cause" for this situation; often, in contracts like this, "cause" or "just cause" are usually defined somewhere. (For example: in terms of when the employer can fire the employee and what the employee gets on termination, the contract will often define "just cause" as involving theft, breach of company policy, etc.)

Without a definition, it is likely that "just cause" would involve something *the company* does which justifies you leaving it, such as a demotion, pay reduction, transfer to a distant location, etc. This is analogizing from the fact that, as stated above, "just cause" for a company to fire an employee, when there is a "just cause" restriction on termination, involves some bad or wrongful act by the employee him- or  herself.

It is highly *unlikely* that simply getting a job offer elsewhere would consitute "just cause" for this purpose, since that would mean the "just cause" provision would have no teeth--you could leave anytime it suited you to do so. Therefore, again,  it is most likely that "just cause" would mean some act by the company justifying you leaving it.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption