Texas is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment. That means that an employer can hire someone without signing a formal written contract with the employee and has the power to change or terminate the employment at any time for any reason. With an increase in the informal, more flexible job market globally and in the United States, that kind of power has led to rising job insecurity and exploitation of workforce. Jobs given on the basis of oral agreements are more common than they ever were.
What does an oral agreement entail for the employee-employer relationship?
Allowing an “at-will” employment can mean that most of the agreement between the employer and the employee is either oral or implied. According to Texas law, a contract is a promise with legal consequences that comes into effect when an offer is made, accepted and a valuable (monetary or non-monetary) exchange takes place under the promise. Texas courts recognize written and/or implied/oral contracts. An oral/verbal employment contract can entail the following
- Work schedule
- Compensation details
- Vacation time
- Responsibilities (on the part of the employer and employee)
- Work location
If oral promises (made by an employee or employer) are acknowledged by a court as a valid contract, it has the power to enforce the terms of the contract in case of a breach. A breach of an oral contract occurs when:
- There is a valid contract
- Plaintiff performs its obligations
- The defendant violates a term or condition of the contract
- The plaintiff sustains damages from the breach of contract
Usually jobs that are given without a written contract, tend to be insecure and contain the risk of employee or employer exploitation. Employee and employer both have the right to make a claim based on breach of employment contract by the other party. In most cases, however, due to the imbalance in bargaining power between the employee and the employer, the employee tends to be on the losing end if a breach of contract occurs. For instance, an employer will change the terms of the agreement without seeking the employee’s consent or the employee can be terminated without notice or a valid reason. These conditions can potentially qualify for a breach of contract.
Fear of losing the job and/or losing income keeps employees from seeking legal help in cases where the employer did not fulfill promises made. The fact that Texas courts recognize oral/verbal contracts can work in favor of the employee (or employer) if they can prove a breach with the help of an experienced employment contract attorney in McKinney. If you believe that you have been promised something that you have not received fairly from your employer or if you have an employee who is not fulfilling mutually-agreed duties, employment contract attorneys at Wormington and Bollinger can review your case, help you understand your rights and obligations and present the best legal options to you. Employment contract attorneys at Wormington and Bollinger have experience in handling contract dispute or breach of contract cases for many local Texas companies. We aim to provide quick and efficient resolutions to cases so that you are not exposed to the risk of extensive losses. Contact us today for if you think you are a victim of a breach of employee contract.