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Discharge may be wrongful termination if contract breached

Most employees in Los Angeles are what are called at-will employees, meaning that their employers are allowed to terminate them for any reason not expressly prohibited by law. Many employees, however, are employed pursuant to an employment contract that the employer and employee expressly entered into. These express contracts often require that the employee only be discharged if the employer has cause to do so. This blog post will take a closer look at employment contracts and when they may be found to exist

Employment contracts are most often found to exist when the parties sign an agreement that lays out the responsibilities of the parties with respect to the employment situation. It may be the case, however, that an employment contract may be found to exist even if there is no written agreement in existence. For example, let's say that an employer tells an employee that "you'll be here as long as your sales are above budget." If a court finds that such a statement was made by the employer, the court may conclude that an employment agreement existed even if it wasn't put in writing.

Let's say the parties have a valid employment agreement, either express or implied. What conditions might exist? One common condition is the confidentiality agreement. This generally requires the employee not to share specified information with third parties not expressly permitted to have the information. This kind of arrangement could be an issue if the employee leaves the employer and tries to accept a position with a competitor. The employer could try to sue the employee to prevent them from working for the employer. The employer would argue that the confidentiality agreement prevents the employee from sharing specified kinds of information with the employer. Depending on the specific circumstances, the existence of a confidentiality agreement could make it impossible for the employee to work for the new employer.

If an employer terminates an employee under conditions not allowed for in their employment contract, the employee may be able to file a claim for wrongful termination against the employer. Wrongful termination attorneys can take a look at an employee's specific situation and provide the employee with guidance as to how to proceed.

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