Can a Recent Medical Diagnosis Make an Employment Contract Voidable?

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When confronted with a medical condition that makes work difficult or impossible, it is important to consult with a supervisor and explain the situation fully. However, if the employer is unwilling to let the worker out of an employment contract, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer and resolve the matter through a different type of solution.

Getting out of an employment contract is not easy if the person wants to retain good relations and a favorable recommendation after he or she leaves. However, it is possible that certain issues may arise that void an employment contract which remove the possibility of keeping the job. If there are certain conditions in place, the contract may be considered voidable where each party may leave. This could involve a breach of terms, an end to the job opportunity or if the contract is rescinded by one or both parties. Some employment contracts bind the worker to the company even in the event his or her health prevents him or her from working properly.

Some employment agreements are binding until something occurs such as mental, emotional or physical ailments and conditions. If a disease has claimed the health and quality of life for the employee, he or she may be let out of the contract. However, others do not contain these provisions and the employer may insist on the person remaining until he or she has finished the 30 day period that is often required before he or she may leave the company. In these situations, a lawyer may be needed to negotiate a compromise so that the person facing a medical condition is able to leave with few or no consequences.

Provisions in Contracts

Sometimes employment contracts have broad provisions that permit the employee to void the agreement due to the lack of specifics. Some contractual documents signed while working for the company may remain such as non-compete paperwork. However, employee handbooks usually require a signature that may bind the worker to the business until certain conditions have been met. If the provisions in the employee contract are deemed inappropriate or too broad, it is possible to nullify them so that the person may seek work elsewhere or attempt to improve his or her health. Some specifics may bind him or her to remain for a period until a replacement is found or for a two week period to end the employment agreement.

Consideration in Contracts

Considerations are within contracts for employment, and these are considered benefits. Agreeing to terms where benefits are not provided based on the work to include promotions or raises could void a contract. It is important to search for any condition that may nullify the agreement if the employer is unwilling to release the individual once his or her health has become a concern, and considerations may lead to a voided contractual agreement. However, the person may need to hire a lawyer and take the company to court for a release. At that point, it is possible to negotiate a settlement or remedy to the situation.

Severability Clauses

Many employment contracts have severability clauses that permit the employer or employee to sever all ties with the company and employee. This is different than if there are illegal terms which make the contract void automatically. These are terms and conditions that permit something in the contract that is unenforceable or void to be completely removed from the rest of the contractual agreement. For persons that have a 30 day period of employment before they may leave without consequence, these may become severable if a medical condition becomes prominent.

Severable provisions may remove certain terms from an employment contract when the employee is unable to continue or complete the condition. These provisions ensure that parts of the contract may be struck down by the courts without voiding the entire employment contract. This permits any benefits such as retirement or severance to be received even if the worker cannot complete a 30 day exit from the company. However, if these do not exist in the document, the courts may render the entire contract void if necessary.

The Lawyer in Medical Issues with an Employment Contract

When any issue that binds an employee to a company arises, it is often beneficial to hire a lawyer to find a way out of the agreement when the personís health may be negatively affected by continued employment. The lawyer will look for any and all provisions available.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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