Legal Question in Business Law in California

My past employer never signed my contract, but I did. The end of the contract states that employee and employer sign here, dated on ____. Does this make the contract null and void?

Asked on 7/23/13, 10:04 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Probably not, as long as the employer agreed to the terms of the contract and you actually worked for them pursuant to that agreement. But I would need to know what the contract says and get some additional facts before I could offer any firm guidance.

Read more
Answered on 7/23/13, 10:43 am

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I don't believe the contract is "null and void." Instead, I'd say the employer and employee were in contract with each other. The only possible issue or doubt might be as to the nature of this contract.

First, a contract is formed by one party making an offer and the other party accepting it.

When two parties draw up a contract, failure of one or both of the parties to execute the contract by affixing a signature doesn't necessarily mean there is no contract. Acceptance of the terms of the contract can be shown by the parties performing the terms of the contract after it is drawn up but left unsigned, as well as by signatures. Acceptance by performance isn't always a permissible means of accepting an offer to enter into a contract, but often is, unless the offer limited the means by which it could be accepted.

Next, even if the written but partially unsigned contract were found by a court not to be in effect, the court would probably find an unwritten contract, or would impose a "quasi contract" upon them. Since there are two kinds of unwritten contracts (oral contracts and implied-in-fact contracts), there are altogether three possibilities for imposing contractual-type obligations on the parties - oral, implied-in-fact, and quasi-contract. (The last of these is also called an implied-in-law contract.)

So, the written but unsigned agreement is not "null and void" in the sense that it is legally meaningless and can be ignored. It may be found by a court to be a validly-accepted offer, and therefore an enforceable contract in its own right, since it was accepted by performance. Or, the writing may only be evidence supporting the existence of one of the other three kinds of contract (or quasi-contract).

Bottom line -- don't rely on the lack of a signature to mean you can ignore this document!

Read more
Answered on 7/23/13, 11:39 am
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

It would only be invalid to the extent that some provision of the statute of frauds required the contract to be in writing and signed by the party to be bound. If you are the party to be bound, it is legitimate as applied to you, because you signed it. I also agree with the other attorneys, because it sounds as though there was performance on both ends, which would take it out of the statute of frauds with an estoppel argument.

Read more
Answered on 7/23/13, 12:46 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Unless you are trying to enforce some term of the supposed contract, it doesn't matter. You said nothing about what your problem is or what you need to do. If you are trying to enforce something against the employer, then various proofs and problems will have to be dealt with.

If serious about getting legal help, feel free to contact me.

Read more
Answered on 7/24/13, 2:15 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Business Law questions and answers in California