Do I Have A Case For Breach Of My Executive Employment Agreement In New York?
It’s common for executives in New York to have written employment agreements which protect them from arbitrary firings. Similarly, certain categories of professional employees often have written employment contracts that shield them from unjustified termination of employment. For example, medical doctors and dentists frequently have such written employment contracts.
Typically, in an executive employment agreement, there is a provision stating that the executive or professional can only be fired for cause, good cause, good reason, or the like. The employment agreement contains a specific description of what constitutes cause. Some examples of types of conduct that an executive employment agreement may include in the definition of cause are:
- failure or neglect by the employee to perform the duties of his or her position;
- a material breach of the employment agreement;
- conviction of certain categories of felonies or misdemeanors; and
- fraud or embezzlement against the employer.
In determining whether an executive or a professional with an executive employment agreement has a cause of action for wrongful termination when they are fired, one needs to review the categories of conduct that the employment agreement classifies as cause. One must then determine whether the employee’s actions that the company claims are cause fall within any of these categories. If not, the executive or professional possesses a cause of action for breach of his or her employment agreement.
It is crucial for an executive or professional to retain an employment lawyer to negotiate, with the company, any executive employment agreement. This is the case because an employee’s attorney will bargain for terms and conditions of the agreement that favor the employee. For example, an employee’s lawyer will negotiate, with the business, a narrow definition of good cause, such that it is not easy for the business to unjustifiably discharge the executive.
By way of example, an executive’s or professional’s attorney would never allow a provision in the executive employment agreement that states that the employee can be terminated for any material breach of the employment agreement. This is so because a material breach of the agreement can mean almost anything. Instead, a knowledgeable employment attorney will negotiate, on the executive’s or professional’s behalf, to narrowly specify those few provisions of the employment contract, if any, whose material violation may constitute cause for termination.
Further, a savvy employment lawyer will bargain, on the employee’s behalf, for a notice and opportunity to cure provision. Such a provision states that, before the company may fire the executive or professional for substantially breaching those few provisions of the executive employment contract whose violation the contract states may give rise to termination, the company must give, to the employee, a certain period of written notice and an opportunity, within that period, to cure the violation.
If you are an employee in the New York City metro area who seeks a written agreement of employment with a prospective employer, or who must respond to an employment agreement tendered by a potential employer, call New York City Employment Contracts Attorney David S. Rich at (347) 941-0760 today.