Breach of Employment Contract

Your Trusted Employment Contract Advisor

As your trusted employment law advisor, our Solicitors have many years of experience and expertise in resolving matters involving breaches of employment contracts. Breaches of contract can present many challenges for employers, whatever sector they are operating in. You can be assured that no matter how complex or contentious the alleged employment contract breach, our team will provide clear, strategic guidance and representation to resolve the matter as quickly, cost-effectively, and amicably as possible. We will ensure your legal position and reputation are protected while providing the most robust defence possible if you have been accused of a breach of an employment contract. If an employee has breached their employment contract, having the support of an expert team of employment lawyers in advance of any potentially contentious discussions or steps you plan to take relating to their conduct can be hugely beneficial.

As a full-service law firm, we will work as a seamless extension of your in-house legal and HR teams, offering the highest level of employment contract legal expertise, support, and guidance.

Contact us on 0808 164 1349 or complete our online enquiry form to find out how we can help with your breach of employment contract matter.

What is an employment contract?

An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between you and your employee. It will usually be in written form, but verbal contracts are also legally binding, although they can be more difficult to enforce if disputes arise as it is harder to determine the nature of the agreed terms.

Employment contracts contain express and implied terms, which can include:

  • Express terms such as working hours and rates of pay
  • Terms implied by statute such as the right to the national minimum wage and statutory notice period
  • Rights implied by common law – for employees, this includes a duty to act faithfully, while for employers, this consists of a duty to act fairly
  • Terms that are implied by custom and practice

What is considered a breach of an employment contract?

Both employer and employee can breach a contract of employment. Either party may sue the other if losses result from the breach of contract. An employment contract may be breached in the following ways:

  • The conduct of the employer breaches a term that is fundamental to the employment contract – this allows an employee to claim constructive dismissal
  • The employee’s behaviour is such that it breaches the terms of the employment contract – this enables the employer to dismiss the employee for gross misconduct
  • The employee is dismissed without notice, paid in lieu of notice or breaches another term of the contract
  • The employee breaches restrictive covenants – a typical example is where an employee poaches an employer or ex-employer’s client after the termination of their employment
  • The employee resigns without giving the notice specified in their contract

What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is deliberate wrongdoing or gross negligence on the part of an employee. This is behaviour that is so serious that it fundamentally undermines the relationship of trust and confidence that must exist between an employer and their employee. Gross misconduct gives the employer the right to dismiss the employee without notice.  This is known as summary dismissal.

What is wrongful dismissal?

Dismissal is deemed wrongful if it breaches the terms of an employment contract. In cases of wrongful dismissal, the main issue is not about fairness; rather, it is about whether a term within the contract, whether express or implied, has been breached. An employee may be able to bring a claim for damages in respect of wrongful dismissal if they can show that the employer breached their contract of employment and caused them loss when dismissing them. Wrongful dismissal claims may occur following an actual or constructive dismissal.

Types of wrongful dismissal claims include:

  • Providing insufficient notice - express or implied (this is the most common cause of claims for wrongful dismissal)
  • Termination of a fixed-term employment contract before its expiry.
  • Termination of a ‘specific task’ employment contract before its expiry.
  • Breaching a contractual disciplinary or redundancy procedure.

Why Wilford Smith Solicitors?

Wilford Smith was founded over 30 years ago and is now considered one of the UK’s most prestigious law firms, having developed a richly deserved reputation for excellence in our core areas of law, including employment and HR. We are more than just a law firm; we are your trusted legal advisor and will be there at every step of your commercial journey. You are never alone. The advice, support, and representation we provide to your business will be tailored to your needs and specific to your industry sector. You can be assured that with our team handling your employment contract breach matter, exceptional outcomes are the norm.

Our employment law teams are based in Sheffield and advise and represent clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813 to find out how we can help with your employment contract breach matter.




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  • S9 2EQ
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


  • Smithy House 22 Westgate,
  • Rotherham S60 1AP
  • Tel: 0808 164 4106
  • Fax: 0844 225 0572


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2024 Wilford Smith is the trading name of WS Strategic Ltd. a limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 07777022. Registered office – Meadowhall Business Park, Sheffield S9 2EQ. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Registration Number 640898.