Once you have a legally binding contract, both parties must abide by the terms of the contract. If either party breaches the contract, the consequences will depend upon which term was breached, and who breached it. 


Minor breaches of the contract are unlikely to be seen as a breakdown of the whole contract. Usually, they can be resolved between the parties. If your employer has breached your contract in a minor way (for example, late payment of wages) it is usually best to approach them first. We can help with minor breaches, but the cost of legal advice usually exceeds any financial benefit. 
Serious breaches of contract include: 
a fundamental breach of an express terms of your contract (such as failure to pay you for work done) 
a fundamental breach of the implied term of trust and confidence (such as misuse by your employer of its disciplinary procedure) 
unlawful deductions from your wages 
changes to the terms of your contract without your agreement 
Serious breaches of contract on your employer's part may give you a claim for constructive dismissal
If you think there has been a breach of contract we usually recommend that you try to resolve this directly with your employer, either informally or using the grievance procedure. 
You can always seek legal advice before you approach your employer. It will help your confidence in any discussions with your employer and we can support you through the process. It can also prove cost-effective, as receiving advice at the outset may help you resolve the issue quickly and avoid a costly tribunal claim
Breach of contract claims can be heard in an Employment Tribunal, County Court or High Court. There are a few reasons you may prefer to bring your claim in the County or High Court. Unlike the tribunal, there are no limits on compensation the court can award and if the value of the claim exceeds £10,000 you may be able to recover your legal costs in making the claim. You also have longer to bring a claim in the County Court or High Court, and can bring claims during employment. 
Breach of contract claims can only be made in the Employment Tribunal if employment has ended. There are also benefits to making a claim in the Employment Tribunal. We will advise you on the best forum to resolve your dispute. 


The contract itself may set out what will happen if you breach your contract, for example by being late, being absent without good cause or failing to meet targets. Usually, employers will deal with these using warnings, disciplinaries or performance reviews. If you breach your contract in a serious way, this may be misconduct or gross misconduct, and will be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure. 
If you agree that you have broken your contract but feel your employer has overreacted in its response, you may have a legal claim. If your employer has dismissed you and this was not a reasonable response, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. If you believe that your employers overreaction to the breach was linked to a protected characteristic you have, you could have a claim for discrimination
Your contract may contain restrictive covenants that apply for a certain time after your employment finishes, or provisions to protect confidential information. If you breach these terms, your employer may be able to get an injunction against you or claim damages from you. 


Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
Phone: 0121 817 0520 
Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
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