What is a breach of contract?

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What is a breach of contract?

The contract between my employer and I is for a specific job, however now my employer wants to reassign me to another job to complete the obligations of my contract but without my consent. Do I have to accept the terms or is this considered to be a breach of contract because I signed the contract for one job specifically and not another job?

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It may be a breach of the contract: there is no way to say in the abstract, because it depends on exactly what the contract says. Contracts are governed by their specific or precise language: if the contract clearly and unequivocally says you are hired for Job 1 and does not give the employer discretion to move you to Job 2, this would be  breach. But if the is any discretion given to the employer or ambiguity as to the exact position *in the contract* (you can only go by what is in the contract itself, not what may have discussed outside of the contract), then they can change your position.
Even if it is a breach, it may be harmless: for example, if you are being paid the same for the new position, the breach is nonmaterial (not important) and you also suffered no compensible damages. The courts look to the harm you suffered (if any) in terms of deciding what to do about an alleged breach, and if there is no harm, the court may not take any action on your behalf, if you were to litigate the matter.


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