Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

University of Pennsylvania

Employment Contracts

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


The employment relationship is one of the foundations upon which modern society and the greater economy is built, but the nature of this relationship can be both complex and confusing. This course seeks to demystify the ways that U.S. contract law principles govern the fundamental relationship between employers and employees. We begin by examining the default rule of at-will employment that applies to most U.S. employment relationships, and we then consider the necessary elements required to create a binding employment relationship. We also explore how courts interpret the content of employment agreements as well as what factors courts consider in awarding damages when an employment agreement is breached. Finally, we take a deeper dive into employment-related agreements such as non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement agreements, and mandatory arbitration clauses, and how the law has evolved to keep up with the changing nature of the fundamental employment relationship.


  • Introduction to Employment Contracts
    • Welcome to this course on Employment Contracts! In this introductory module, we will introduce the default rule of at-will employment in the United States. Then, we will discuss the special rules that make employment contracts special. Finally, we will delve into the elements that must be present to create an enforceable contract for employment.
  • Interpretation: The Content of Employment Contracts
    • This module explores the substantive content of employment contracts and the rules that govern what types of terms that are and are not allowed in employment contracts. Many laws have been passed regarding these mandatory rules, such as minimum wage requirements and requirements governing safety, family leave, and termination. Finally, we look at how the law deals with breaches in an employment contract setting.
  • What Happens When Things Go Wrong? Damages in Employment Contracts
    • This module deals with what happens when things go wrong - how are the parties that are harmed by the breach of an employment contract made whole? There are a variety of damage types that courts recognize, and we will explore what remedies are available when an employment contract is breached.
  • Special Topics in Employment Contracts

Taught by

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 27 ratings

Start your review of Employment Contracts

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.