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Legal Memorandum: Discharge of Contract

Issue: May a grounds for discharge be agreed by contract when illegal under law?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Employee Law
Keywords: Grounds for discharge; Unlawful employment practice
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a); Restatement (Second) Contracts § 178 (1979)
Date: 04/01/2006

When the ground for the discharge—retaliation for reporting sexual harassment—is illegal under other statutes, such as Title VII, it cannot be made permissible by contract, and any provision in the CBA to that effect is illegal and of no force and effect.  See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (“(a) It shall be unlawful employment practice for an employer—(1) to . . . discharge any individual . . . because of such individual’s . . . sex.”); Aman, 85 F.3d at 1085 TA s "Aman v. Cort Furn. Rent. (3d Cir. 1996)"  (retaliatory discharge illegal); Restatement (Second) Contracts § 178 (1979) TA l "Restatement (Second) Contracts § 178 (1979)" s "Restatement (Second) Contracts § 178 (1979)" c 2 .  On this point, the Restatement provides:

A promise or other term of an agreement is unenforceable on grounds of public policy if legislation provides that it is unenforceable or the interest in its enforcement is clearly outweighed in the circumstances by a public policy against enforcement of such terms.

 

Id. TA s "Restatement (Second) Contracts § 178 (1979)"

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