Kurt Knutsson, better known as Cyber Guy, is suing his previous employer for breach of contract after a recent firing. Mr. Knutsson had a five year employment agreement with his employer, the KTLA television station, but he was terminated from his position after only two years. According to his lawsuit, his termination occurred suddenly and he was not given a reason for it. The case is a good example of a common contractual disagreement that employers face find themselves conronting.
The reporter in this matter is a well known television personality, considered an expert on technology. He has been in the public eye for over a decade with a show on KTLA’s station where he makes technology easier to understand for the average person. His show has been very popular, to the point that KTLA has shared the show with affiliated networks throughout the nation. Despite his popularity, Mr. Knutsson was fired in December of 2010 with the possibility of renegotiating his contract. Then a few months later, KTLA rescinded the offer of renegotiation, fully terminating their relationship with Mr. Knutsson in February 2011.
When Is It a Breach of Contract?
Not all employment terminations are potential
breaches of contract. Whether there was a breach of a contract depends on many factors, including
the specific terms of the contract or agreement and the reason an employer
chooses to fire an employee. Many workers are “at will” employees,
which means the can be terminated at any time for almost any reason. However,
a person may not be fired from his or her job based on their gender, religion,
ethnicity, age or disability. The reverse of that, of course, is that
an at will employee may quit at any time, without having to worry about
committing a breach of their employment contract either.
Mr. Knutsson may have a valid case for breach of contract because he had a five year contract which detailed the expectations of both parties. Because of this contract, KTLA has to have a reason for firing him which falls under the contract. In this case, it will be Mr. Knutsson’s burden to show that there was a valid contract at the time he was fired and that he was in the process of completing his responsibilities under the agreement. KTLA will also have two options under which to focus the defense of the station’s actions. KTLA’s first option is to argue that there was an issue with the contract which made it invalid. This would allow the station to fire Mr. Knutsson for any reason, as if he were never an employee. The station’s second option is to focus on the terms of the contract and show that Mr. Knutsson did not do his job properly.
The key to any case is to look into your options as soon as possible. The longer it takes to bring a case to court, the longer it will take for it to reach a conclusion. When there is a disruption in services or payment for services, reimbursement in a timely manner is important to the successful management of any business. Any delay in reaching a solution, reduces the time and energy that could be spent bettering your business. If you have any sort of contract issue in our area, be sure to reach out to our Long Island business lawyerfor guidance.
See Related Blog Posts:
Piercing the Corporate Veil in Breach of Contract Actions
Tortious Interference with Business Contracts