If I have a work contract that was just signed 2 weeks ago, can they hold me to the fee for breaking it if it lists the wrong year?

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If I have a work contract that was just signed 2 weeks ago, can they hold me to the fee for breaking it if it lists the wrong year?

Since I wasn’t being offered salary and benefits that I needed I had a verbal discussion with the employer about still looking into other jobs that offer full benefits, etc. Verbally I was told they would not hold me to the fee for breaking my contract. Then, 2 weeks before my contract started, I found a better job. I also just noticed my contract is dated for the last school year instead of this school year. I worked last year for them already.

Asked on July 31, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) Listing the wrong year is irrelevant: a court would have no problem finding that was simply a typo and essentially correcting it to the correct year.

2) They can only hold you to a fee for breaking the contract if the contract you signed/agreed to states there is a fee for breaking it--if so, such a provision is legal and enforceable; since you would have agreed to the fee, you are obligated to it--or, if there is no fee listed in the contract, they suffered some foreseeable loss or cost, like relocation or training costs spent on you, in which case they may be able to recoup those costs. But for such costs to be recoverable by them, that the employer would be out them would, as stated, have to have been foreseeable, something you can anticipate.

So generally, if an employee breaks his or her employment contract, there is no fee or penalty, but the exceptions are if the employee agreed in the contract to a penalty or fee, or if the employee's breaking of the contract caused the employer to incur a foreseeable loss.


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