How You Can Prove a Breach of Contract

Anita North
National Head of Employment

A breach of your employment contract can come in several forms, and often can leave you suffering from a financial loss. If you believe that your employment contract has been breached, here is a summary of what you need to know, to decide if you can make a claim.

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Firstly, What Sort of Things are Considered a Breach of Contract?

Each employment contract will have different terms, and it only takes one of these terms to be broken for it to be considered a breach. Some of the most common breaches are:

  • incorrect or unpaid wages;
  • sudden changes to your contract (your employer is entitled to make changes to your contract, but can’t do so without your agreement or notice);
  • not being paid during your notice period;
  • certain measures not being followed properly by your employer, such as their duty of care.

Proving a Breach of Contract – What do I Need to do?

There are five elements that are needed to prove that there has been a breach of contract. Each of these are important, and you will need to prove all five, for your case to be successful:

      1. You must prove that there was a valid contract to begin with;
      2. You must have a physical copy of the contract – this could be an email or paper document. If you don’t have a written contract, proof of a verbal agreement may be sufficient;
      3. You must show that you agreed and adhered to your side of the employment contract;
      4. You must show that your employer did not uphold their side of the employment contract. If you have been underpaid for example, a pay slip or bank statement could be sufficient evidence;
      5. You must show that because of the contract breach, you have suffered a loss of some kind. You should be reasonable about any damages that you have incurred.

If you think that you have suffered a breach of your employment contract, you should raise the matter with your employer in the first instance, and if this does not resolve the issues, submit a formal grievance.

When is the Right Time to Submit a Claim, and What is the Time Limit?

If you have been unable to resolve the breach with your employer, then it is best that you get in touch with a Solicitor as soon as you are able.

If your employment has ended it may be best to bring your claim to an Employment Tribunal. This will require you to begin ACAS Early Conciliation within 3 months, less one day from the date of the breach, and this may mean that you have to begin your claim before any formal grievance has been resolved. In some cases, it may be best to bring your claim in the civil courts, and such claims must begin within 6 years of the breach of contract.

If you believe you have the right information to progress with a claim, contact a member of our expert Employment Law Solicitors today.

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