What Can I Do if My Employer Violates My Employment Contract?
If you have an agreement with your employer – written or verbal (albeit verbal is harder to prove) – that has been broken, you have several courses of action. If the employment/employee contract is a union contract, speak with your union representative first. If not, then you can:
Speak with the Human Resources Department
While there are all different kinds of employment contracts from offer letters, to non-disclosure agreements, to non-compete agreements and more, your HR representative was most likely involved in the coordination of the agreement. Bring a copy of your employee contract and documentation on how and when the contract was breached
For instance, if your contract stipulates that you would be paid overtime for anything over 40 hours and you haven’t been, bring proof of your overtime work and your pay stubs. In this situation, the unpaid overtime could be a misunderstanding between management and payroll and not an actual wage and hour dispute; so bring it up to your employer first and give them the opportunity to remedy the situation.
Understand the Fine Points of Your Employment Agreement
If HR is unable to resolve the situation to your satisfaction, have an attorney review the entire hard copy of your documentation, not just the points in contention. Once you review the fine points of your contract with a legal professional, you can either speak to a mediator or continue with an attorney.
A mediator can help you negotiate a soft resolution to the conflict, but if your employer is unwilling to budge you may need to contact an attorney.
When an Employer Breaks an Employment Contract
When your employer breaks a part of your employee contract, it’s considered a breach of contract. You cannot be expected to adhere to a contract that the employer has broken. If this is the case, before it becomes a hostile work environment, speak with an employment rights attorney who can explain the intricacies of the law and the next steps.
When Should You Seek Legal Representation?
If you and your employer have not been able to come to terms, an employment attorney can help. Common breaches of contracts include (but are not limited to):
- Unpaid travel expenses, holiday or sick pay, and/or unpaid wages
- Changes to the terms of the agreement that you didn’t sign off on
Not all Breaks are Breaches
There are certain specifics of employee contracts that while given are not granted. For instance, an employment contract may stipulate an employee receives two weeks’ vacation. While an employer must adhere to allowing the employee that time off, the employer does have the right to limit when it can be taken. An employment attorney can help you understand the difference between these types of allowances and a breach of contract by your employer.
If you feel your employer has violated an employment contract, or have questions regarding your employee agreement, wrongful termination, or employment rights, contact Wenzel, Fenton, Cabassa P.A. today to schedule your free consultation.