If I resign from a position, can an employer obligate me to complete the terms of contract?

UPDATED: Apr 28, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Apr 28, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I resign from a position, can an employer obligate me to complete the terms of contract?

If I signed a contract with my employer stating that I would work for them for the next year, yet I decide to resign before the year is up, am I obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract? Even if they they have not invested any money in me or paid me any money in advance? What could possibly happen if I decide to breach the contract? I’m up for renewing my contract. If they can, in fact, hold this contract against me what could possibly happen if I refused to sign a renewing contract binding me to a specific period of time? Can I be fired for not signing it when the year is up?

Asked on April 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Contracts are enforceable. When one party breaches a contract, the other party may sue for the losses, costs, or damages which are the foreseeable result of that breach. If you signed a one-year employment contract, but quit or resign before the year is up, your employer could potentially sue you for one or more of the following:

1) The cost to bring in a temp, freelancer, or contractor to do your work, to the extent that is greater than your salary plus benefits.

2) For some or all of any recruiter fee or signing bonus paid to you, or for or all of such costs necessary to bring on a new employee. (The closer you are to the end of your contract, the less they could recover in this regard, since they might have to re-recruit when your year is up anyway; see below).

3) If they lost sales or profits as a direct and provable result of you not being there to complete some project you were in the middle of, they may be able to claim for some of those losses.

You are not obligated to renew a contract--so once you contract is up, you do not need to re-sign. However, if you choose to not sign, your employer could certainly terminate you if it chose--without an employment contract, you are an employee at will, who may be fired at any time, for any reason.

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 lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption