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What Can Cause an Employment Contract to Be Void?

As an employer, understanding how to create valid employment contracts is essential for your business’s legal and operational integrity. A contract that ticks all the right boxes ensures a clear, enforceable agreement between you and your employees. Here’s what you need to know about the basic elements of a valid employment contract and the factors that could render it void.

What Does a Valid Employment Contract Look Like?

Here are some key elements that should exist in every employment contract to ensure it is valid:

  • Clear Offer: The contract should precisely define the employee’s job position and terms.
  • Acceptance: The employee must agree to these terms without alterations.
  • Mutual Consent: Both parties should clearly understand and agree to the terms.
  • Capacity of Parties: Both you and the employee should be legally able to enter into the contract (e.g., of legal working age, mentally competent, etc.).
  • Consideration: The contract must include something of value exchanged between you and the employee, usually their service for your payment.
  • Legality: The contract must comply with all relevant labor laws, wage standards, and other applicable industry regulations.

Factors That Could Invalidate an Employment Contract

If you’re drawing up an employment contract, it’s important to understand how to create a valid document and what could invalidate it. A void contract is like having no contract at all because the terms are not enforceable by either party. Knowing what makes a contract void helps you avoid these pitfalls. 

Here are some key factors that could render an employment contract void:

  • Illegality: If the contract involves illegal activities, it’s automatically void. For example, if you hire someone for a job that violates labor laws, the contract won’t hold up in court.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: If either party lies or misrepresents facts during the formation of the contract, the court might consider the contract null and void.
  • Coercion or Undue Influence: A contract is invalid if one party forces or pressures the other to enter it. This includes threats or misuse of power.
  • Mistake: If both parties have a fundamental misunderstanding about a significant part of the contract, it might be considered invalid.
  • Lack of Capacity: A contract is void if the employee lacks the legal capacity to enter into a contract (for instance, because they are underage or lack mental capacity).
  • Non-Fulfillment of a Condition Precedent: If your contract depends on certain conditions being met first and these conditions aren’t met, the contract might not be valid.
  • No Severability Clauses: A severability clause ensures that if one part of the contract is found invalid or unenforceable, the rest remains in effect. If a contract has no severability clause, a single mistake could invalidate the entire contract.

Contact a Business and Employment Law Attorney Today

Don’t leave the enforceability of your employment contracts to chance. At Cross Jenks Mercer & Maffei LLP, we have the skill and experience to craft solid, enforceable contracts that protect your business interests and comply with all legal standards. Contact us now for an initial consultation, and let’s discuss how we can make your employment contracts bulletproof.