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A breach of contract is simple, did one of the two (or more) parties involved go against the outlined rules of the contract? That’s pretty straightforward, but it isn’t always easy to prove. Hence, it can often fall to a private investigator to carry out an independent enquiry to gather evidence and help build a case where a breach has taken place.

A contract exists to hold people accountable for their actions, and when that contract is breached it can have major legal implications. A private investigator can help assure you that a breach has indeed happened, and can help in establishing the truth behind the claim.

David Kearns, director of Expert Investigations, is a leading expert on aspects of investigation in regards to dishonesty in the workplace. Many of the services he offers are tailored towards gathering information to help prove workplace contracts have indeed been breached. He helped us come up with some of the key factors of information to know about contract breaches for this piece.

Explaining a Contract Breach

A contract creates legally binding terms between people, the most common contract we encounter is our employment contract. The two parties involved each have a contractual relationship that has expectations from one another and potential legal consequences when either member fails to comply with the contractual obligations.

In simple terms, the contract has rules for both people involved. If those rules are not followed then legal remedies can be called upon, people can claim damages, or one can even justify termination of an employee if the breach is serious.

Private Investigators can often be asked to help prove that a breach has taken place, for example, many roles such as sales or accountancy do not allow their employees to discuss the financial situation of their business to competition or other related fields. This information is very valuable and could be used by other companies to leverage business or for inside trading, but this is not something that can be easily proven. Hence, private investigators, such as ourselves at Expert Investigations, can often be called upon for surveillance or data enquiries into the potential defaulting party member to help prove a breach has happened.

Breach of Employment Contracts by an Employee

While companies often have dedicated HR teams that know the rights and legal relations of employees and employers, it can still result in a situation where a little more evidence is needed to prove if a breach has taken place. That is where teams such as ourselves come into play.

A good example of this is a case we handled here at Expert Investigations, for this we had to uncover if two construction employees were actually breaking their contract by setting up their own business without proper notification. The construction company had no proof that the employees in question were doing this but they had a suspicion, with the right methods we were able to discover that those suspicions were indeed accurate.

This was a standard situation of two employees going against something that was expressly stated in their contract but something the employer could not prove without proper investigation. As an employer, always be aware of your written contract and what it actually states, and if you have a good reason to believe that the contract has been breached then have it investigated properly and professionally.

So if you believe that an employee is potentially being dishonest or using company data in a harmful way, then contact a private investigator to find the truth.

How Can You Protect Your Business Against Breach of Contract?

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Typical Breaches of Contract by an Employee

Here are some of the typical problems that arise around a contract that private investigators help with:

Data Theft

Employees have access to information about a business that could be taken advantage of very easily. Proving that somebody could be using that information in a harmful way is not easy, which is where private investigators typically come into play.

Through surveillance and other methods, we can uncover where and what people are doing with important data, which could save your business from being taken advantage of.

Physical Theft

A lot of companies can make unique products, or highly sought after goods, which means employees can take advantage of this and steal company products to sell themselves. It can be hard to prove who is doing this, but a private investigator can help you to solve this by finding information that can help with the case.

Breach of Contract after Termination

A lot of people do not realise that a contract can often have stipulations for post-employment. As a result, many people can join a competitor or use valuable data to their advantage when terminated. Hence, private investigators can often be asked to help find out what an employer is doing post-employment.

Services That Can Help Detect a Breach of Contract

Here are some typical services that private investigators use to help find breaches of contracts:

Computer Surveillance

Often the most information to be found is right there on an individual’s personal device. You would be surprised how much information people store on company computers.

A simple search can help you to find the evidence you need to identify the breaching party.

Covert Surveillance

If you believe an employee is being dishonest, maybe they have stolen data or you believe they are breaking some of their post-employment contracted rules, then a simple surveillance job can uncover a lot.

Where somebody goes can reveal who they are talking to, working for, as well as much more. this can really help you to identify any actions that could be harmful to your business or contract.

Undercover Staff

Here at Expert Investigations, we can help place staff members inside your business to find out what is really going on.

Employees will often avoid talking about certain things when management are around, so having an undercover staff member can help you to identify any contract breaches.

Breach of Employment Contracts by Your Employer

While Employees rarely, if ever, seek out help from a private investigator, as HR teams and other facilities offer help and guidance for Employers, it is important to know how a contract breach works both ways.

It is often very easy to associate a breach of contract with the employee rather than the business itself, but a contract does work both ways and an employer can also find themselves at fault. If a breach has happened then you must remember that the contract existed to protect both members involved.

It is important to note that you can have two types of breaches, an express term or an implied term. This, in simple terms, means is the breach an explicitly stated part of the contract or is it an implied part? An implied term is what people can often need the most help with proving as implied terms are not contractually stated but can still be a valid cause of investigation. For example, some commonplace laws or basic human rights might not find themselves in a contract but the employee can still seek help if the party fails to provide what is an implied level of human care.

It is very rare to see an employee need the assistance of a private investigator. Typically, the HR team are the people that can provide the help that is needed for employees, this is what they are there for.

A private investigation is a costly procedure so it is often the last resort; however, if you truly believe that your case needs investigating, then speak with a professional for guidance on what to do.

Solutions to a Breach of Contract

When a contract has been breached you need to find a solution, but big legal battles or complicated court hearings are not how these issues typically get handled. Most cases can be handled internally; however, there are a few smaller legal systems in place to deal with typical breaches of contracts.

Here are some solutions to seek out for a breach of contract:

Try Mediation First

Most breaches of contract, when dealing with work-related contracts, can be resolved internally. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice when approaching a breach to make sure you have the correct legal understanding of the contract; however, the solution can often be dealt with internally.

For example, most businesses have a dedicated HR team to contact for issues regarding contractual disputes or breaches, and they can often solve the issue internally. It is quicker, easier, and will often get you a result that is more than good enough for the situation. So, speak with your internal team before contacting the authorities.

If you have the correct evidence to prove the breach, then the contract itself will hold them accountable. Hence, it is always good to make sure you have the correct evidence. This is typically what Private Investigators are asked to help with, here at Expert Investigations, we provide a number of services that can help you gather the intel you need to prove a contract has been breached. We have an extensive history of finding workplace dishonesty and theft.

Now for some contract breaches, legal action may be required, especially if either party refuses to acknowledge the break of the contract. If this is the case, and you believe that the breach is serious enough to demand legal attention then seek it.

Private investigators can help you build evidence for legal cases if you are struggling to prove the breach happened. We can help to establish what employees are doing, who they are speaking to, or contacting outside of work hours.

Common Examples of Contract Breaches

The following are some of the common examples of contract breaches, you can have minor breaches as well as major contract breaches:

Data Theft

What an employee does with company information is very important. Depending on your business, employees could have access to public information, bank details, company records, and much more. Employees can typically take advantage of this even when the contract specifically states they cannot.

This is a very typical job for Private investigators.

Physical Theft

Employees that could be selling material from work or products can be a serious issue. It is often stated in contracts that any discounts employees get or benefits can not be traded outside of the workplace; however, many employees can often take advantage of this to gain profits of their own.

Withdrawing or Turning Down a Job Offer After Accepting It

Turning down a job offer after accepting it is a breach of contract. Because once you accept the contract, you need to stick to the terms until the contract is terminated which will include a notice period.

A company can technically charge you for the labour time they lose if you don’t show up for a notice period.

Changes to the Terms of Your Contract

Changes to a contract can be made but they have to be agreed upon by both members of the contract. If one party decides to change the contract then the other party must agree, otherwise, they are working under a contract that they have not signed.

This will also inevitably lead to contract disputes as both involved parties will have different understandings of the contract.

If you believe that your contract has been breached then seek legal advice or the help of a private investigator to be sure your claim is accurate.

Now you know the potential dangers of breach of contract and how to investigate them, it’s time to act. Book a consultation today: