Breach of an Expressed or Implied Employment Contract

The "at-will" employment doctrine was designed to make clear the end of an employment relationship. An employee or employer face no legal consequences for ending the relationship without explanation as long at the reason is not illegal. However, employers sometimes make statements or promises about employment terms and length, making the relationship confusing or binding.

Employees have argued that these statements change the "at-will" relationship and won their cases. If your employer has made any kind of commitment to your employment, and an impending workers' compensation settlement may compromise your ability to file a claim, contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney to change or adapt the terms of your general release from a workers' compensation claim in order to ensure that important rights aren't being released.

Implied Contracts

Although a physical contract may not be written, the employment relationship can be protected in some circumstances by what is called an "implied contract." These contracts are inferences and impressions that an employer and an employee may have about the other one's intentions. Sometimes, their intentions may be spoken of and become legally binding if the state statutes recognize it this way. 

Implied contracts can be created or inferred in a number of ways. Court cases in the past have used the following elements when determining if an implied contract existed:

  • Negotiations, either written or oral.
  • Conduct between the employer and employee since the start of employment.
  • How the business is used.
  • Length of employment.
  • Nature of employment.
  • Evaluations of performance.
  • How the employer's requests influenced the employee's decision to give up or limit other employment.
  • Other circumstances that reveal intentions in the employment relationship.

Expressed Contracts

Expressed contracts can be conventionally written, or other documents may take the place of it. For example, an employee handbook or personnel policy can have language that explicitly states the terms or length of employment. It is important to read these carefully because a legally binding document works to protect both an employee and employer in the event of a dispute. Additionally, employers may have disclaimers to release their liability from these types of contracts.

Each stage in the formation of a contract is vital to understand. The process is designed to make changes or amendments where needed so the relationship is unambiguous and clear. The three elements of contract formation are:

  • Offer.
  • Consideration.
  • Acceptance.

Past cases in Florida have been most successful when a lot of evidence is available. For example, a handbook alone will not convince a court that the employment relationship has changed from "at-will." Therefore, if you are considering pursuing one of these claims, keep all paperwork and communication well organized or documented. It can help your claim or speed up your recovery after meeting with an attorney.

Do You Still Have Questions?

Call 407.648.4940 or contact Coye Law Firm today for a free, private strategy session about your case.

The expert injury attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help the injured.


Looking for free, powerful information about workers' comp?

Download my special reportWorkers' Compensation Process in Florida and learn...

  • Who will pay your medical bills?
  • How will you pay your regular bills?
  • Can you return to work?
  • Can you perform the same job you did before?
  • If not, will you be fired?