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Implied Contracts and Wrongful Termination

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Apr 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

You thought your job was secure. You gave it your all, put in the long hours, and played by the rules. Then, out of nowhere, you're fired. No warning, no explanation, just a pink slip and a boot out the door. It feels wrong, unfair, like a betrayal. And you know what? It might be.

Enter implied contracts - the unsung heroes of employment law. These unwritten agreements can be your secret weapon in proving wrongful termination. Implied contracts are created through your employer's actions, promises, and policies. They can override the default "at-will" employment and give you job security.

So, how do you use implied contracts to fight back against wrongful termination? I'm here to walk you through it, step by step. We'll explore how implied contracts are formed, what evidence you need, and how to build a strong case. By the end, you'll be armed with the knowledge and confidence to stand up for your rights and get the justice you deserve.

Table of Contents:

Understanding Implied Contracts in Employment

When it comes to employment law, implied contracts are a big deal. They're the unspoken agreements between you and your employer that can make or break your job security.

The Creation of an Implied Contract

So how do these implied contracts come about? It's all in the little things. The way your boss talks to you, the promises they make, even the policies in your employee handbook. Over time, these things can add up to an implied employment contract. In fact, implied contracts are way more common than written ones. Most of the time, they're created by the circumstances of your employment or the things your boss says to you. It's like a secret handshake that you didn't even know you were making.

Significance of Implied Contracts for Job Security

Now, why do these implied contracts matter? Because they can give you a level of job security that goes beyond the typical at-will employment. With an implied contract, your employer can't just fire you on a whim. They need a good reason, like poor performance or company downsizing. It's like a little safety net for your career.

Wrongful Termination and Implied Contracts

But what happens when your employer breaks that implied contract? That's where wrongful termination comes in. If you're fired without a legitimate reason, it could be a breach of your implied agreement.

Good Cause for Termination

Now, not every firing is wrongful. There are plenty of good reasons to let someone go, like poor performance or violating company policies. But if your employer can't give a solid justification, that's when eyebrows start to raise. I've seen it happen time and time again. An employee thinks they're doing just fine, then bam - they're out the door with no explanation. That's where implied contracts can really save the day.

Legal Recourse for Wrongful Termination Claims

So let's say you've been wrongfully terminated. What now? It's time to lawyer up, my friend. A good employment law attorney can help you navigate the tricky waters of a wrongful termination claim.

Seeking Legal Representation

Don't try to go it alone. These cases can get complex fast, and you want someone in your corner who knows the ins and outs of employment law. Trust me, it can make all the difference. In California, if you're fired without good cause and it violates an implied contract, you may have grounds for legal action. But you've got to act fast and gather all the evidence you can.

Employee Handbooks and Implied Contracts

One place to look for evidence of an implied contract? Your trusty employee handbook. These bad boys can create all sorts of expectations about your job security.

Policies and Employer Commitments

If your handbook lays out specific policies or commitments from your employer, that can be used to show an implied contract exists. Things like progressive discipline policies or promises of long-term employment can all factor in.

Performance Evaluations' Role in Implied Contracts

Another piece of the puzzle? Your performance evaluations. If you've been getting regular reviews and positive feedback, that can create an expectation of continued employment. It's like your boss is saying, "Hey, keep up the good work and you'll have a job here for the long haul." But if they suddenly change their tune and fire you without cause, that's a big red flag.

Exceptions to At-Will Employment Through Implied Contracts

Now, I know what you're thinking. Isn't everyone an at-will employee these days? Not necessarily. Implied contracts can be a major exception to that rule.

The Implied Contract Exception

In certain situations, an implied contract can override the default at-will status and give you greater protections. It's not a guarantee, but it's a possibility worth exploring if you think you've been wronged.

Proving Wrongful Termination Based on Implied Contracts

So how do you actually prove wrongful termination based on an implied contract? It's all about the evidence, baby.

Evidence of Employer Violations

You'll need to show that your employer violated the terms of your implied agreement. That could be through written communications, witness statements, or even patterns of behavior over time.

The Role of Verbal Promises

Don't forget about those verbal promises either. If your boss made any statements about your job security or future with the company, document it. Those can carry a lot of weight in proving an implied contract.

Protecting Your Rights with Employment Law Expertise

At the end of the day, navigating the world of implied contracts and wrongful termination is no easy feat. That's where having a skilled employment attorney on your side can make all the difference. They can help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and fight for your rights every step of the way. And trust me, when your livelihood is on the line, that's not something you want to leave to chance. So if you think you've been wrongfully terminated based on an implied contract, don't hesitate to seek legal advice. The sooner you act, the better your chances of getting the justice you deserve.


Proving wrongful termination with implied contracts is no walk in the park, but it's a fight worth fighting. You've learned how these unwritten agreements can give you job security and protection from unjust firing. You know the signs to look for, like promises of continued employment, regular promotions, and positive performance reviews.

But here's the thing - you don't have to go it alone. Seeking legal advice from an experienced employment attorney can make all the difference. They can help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and navigate the complex world of employment law.

Remember, standing up for your rights isn't just about you. It boils down to this - we need our workplaces to be spaces where fairness isn't just hoped for; it's demanded from those in charge. So don't be afraid to speak up, fight back, and prove that wrongful termination won't be tolerated. With implied contracts on your side, you've got the power to make a change.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

Eric B. Kingsley is a 2023 "Best In Law" Award winner and has litigated over 150 class actions. He is also an AV peer rated attorney and a prolific speaker at various seminars on employment law.


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