Plaintiff employee bought suit against defendant

May 29, 2021

Plaintiff employee bought suit against defendant garage owner for damages for the breach of a contract of employment. The complaint contained two counts. The Superior Court of Sacramento County (California) rendered judgment in favor of the employee on both counts, but a new trial was granted as to the second count. The garage owner sought review from the judgment as to the first cause of action.

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Overview

The parties entered into a contract whereby the employee was to work for the garage owner for a certain length of time at a certain rate of pay, and if the garage was sold, the garage owner was to use the employee in a different capacity, but at the same rate. After the garage was sold and after the employee had worked for the garage owner for one week thereafter, the garage owner discharged the employee. The garage owner argued that neither the complaint nor the evidence justified a judgment for damages for breach of the contract. The record disclosed no criticism of the character of the employee’s services. The only reason assigned by the garage owner for the employee’s dismissal was that there was no work for the employee. The court held that because the action was a claim for damages for the breach of a contract of the employment for a specific rate for a specific length of time, the employee was not required to wait until the end of the term of employment before commencing the action. Such a suit could be brought anytime after the breach. Further, the measure of damages was the entire unpaid contract price of the services, less whatever sum the employee actually earned.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment.

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