What laws can be overridden by contracts?

overridden by contracts

What laws can be overridden by contracts?

Generally speaking, courts will uphold legislation over a competing contract. Some laws, meanwhile, either expressly or tacitly permit contracts to supersede them in particular circumstances. For instance, the Federal Arbitration Act in the US states that arbitration agreements are enforceable even if state law prohibits them.

If not permitted in the law, a contract cannot supersede a law.

Any such contract is void, but a clause may restrict the scope of such invalidation to only those terms that violate the law.

The law can be used to declare a contract unenforceable in order to safeguard one of the parties involved as well as to prevent harm to society at large. For instance, a court will never uphold an agreement that promotes anything that is already prohibited by state or federal law. Other instances of contracts (or contract provisions) that are unenforceable because they violate public policy include:

  • An employer compelling a worker to sign a contract that bans them from affiliating with a union
  • Compelling a worker to sign a contract that forbids taking time off for medical reasons
  • Contracts for child custody
  • If an employee has a right to a minimum wage, any contract that lists pay as less than minimum wage is not binding.

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