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Can You Get Out Of An Employment Contract In California?

How Employment Contract Lawyers In California Help Find Ways To Get Out Of A Contract

Employment contracts are legally-binding documents that could dictate your work and your relationship with your employer. In the worst-case scenario, you might sign an unfair agreement that would negatively affect you and your career.

You may get out of an unfair or invalid contract in California. A prescreened California employment contract lawyer can assess your contracts to find things that might invalidate them—and there are a few.

In some cases, some people just want to get out of their contracts and make sure they're doing it right. After all, you don't want to do something that might get you sued in return.

Here's what you need to know from our prescreened employment contract lawyers in California:

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Is An Employment Contract Legally Binding In California?

Yes. It should indicate the terms of your employee-employer relationship. This means that both sides need to fulfill the terms written in the contract. For example, you agree to do the things in your job description, and your employer agrees to pay you and give you benefits as listed in the contract.

If one party does not fulfill the roles they agreed to in the employment contract, then the other can sue for breach of contract claims in California.

What If I'm Working At-Will In California?

Before we discuss getting out of employment contracts, we must first discuss working "at-will" in California.

At-will employees work at the discretion of their employers. This means they could be fired anytime for any legal reason in California.

However, this works the same way for workers. So, at-will workers can also quit at any time for any reason. You just need to file a 2-week notice should you want to leave your job in California.

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What Are The Grounds For Cancellation Of A Contract?

You might be tied with an employment contract if you're not working at will. However, if you want to get out of it, you first need to find factors that would invalidate the contract.

Here are a few things prescreened employment contract lawyers in California look for:

1. Provisions That Are Too Broad

Employment contracts need to be as detailed as possible. This is so both parties know what they need to do and what's required of them. So, when you're signing something, you know what you're agreeing to.

However, if provisions are too broad, they could be open for interpretation. This is dangerous, as it could lead to employers abusing it.

2. Unfair Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses are frequently included in employment contracts by small-business owners. Except for California, all states have legalized these clauses; however, other state courts have limited their application.

Non-compete agreements typically restrict employees' ability to work for a competitor for a predetermined time following termination. Despite state and case law variations, most courts consider a one-year window acceptable. However, a time longer than one or two years can be deemed invalid and unenforceable.

If you're unsure whether your contract has unfair clauses, contact a California employment contract lawyer to assess it.

3. Provisions That Are Inappropriate

An attempt to bind every employee by a non-compete clause may be deemed invalid. For example, employees shouldn't be required to sign a non-compete agreement if they don't have access to confidential information, such as customer lists or trade secrets. On the other hand, employees that frequently interact with a company's proprietary procedures, such as those that offer the business a competitive edge, may be required to sign non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.

4. Illegal Terms

An employment contract is automatically void if it contains any prohibited clauses. Non-compete agreements, for instance, are invalid in California since the state has deemed them against the law.

Any other condition that requests consent from an employee to do something prohibited by local, state, or federal law is also void. For instance, a clause requiring an underpaid employee to work overtime is not valid.

5. Severability

Severability clauses are frequently included in employment contracts. These provisions declare that any term or provision found invalid or unenforceable is severed or removed from the remaining enforceable terms of the agreement.

Severability clauses allow judges to remove problematic clauses from a contract without nullifying the whole thing. If a contract doesn't have a severability clause, a judge could declare the entire agreement invalid.

What If My Employer Sues For Breach Of Contract?

Getting out of a contract can be tricky. In some cases, employers will refuse to let you go or sue you for breach of contract in California. Therefore, you'll want to have a prescreened California employment contract lawyer assist you with the following:

  • Reviewing a potentially invalid contract

  • Identifying the proper process of getting out of your contract

  • Asserting your right to get out of a contract, should your employer refuse or retaliation

  • Represent you in court or in settlement negotiations

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