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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My employer put me on a 90 day professional improvement plan;and

Customer Question

My employer put me on a 90 day professional improvement plan;and I was to have 30,60 90 day reviews. I had the 30 day review at which time i was told i had only made 30% improvement. the district manager was out on sick leave at the 60 day mark. The company has verbally amended the plan to 115 days. I am not eligible for quarterly bonus during this time.
Can they legally change a 90 day plan to 115 days?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.

Under California law, an employer who violates its own written disciplinary policies is in breach of contract. Assuming that you were placed on a written PIP and you are performing under that plan in consideration for the employer's agreement to reinstate you after 90 days, assuming you perform according to the plan, then that is an enforceable contract, and the employer cannot unilaterially modify it without being in breach and liable for damages (which, presumably would include any bonus not given during day 90-115.

You could file a wage claim with the DLSE for the bonus if it is not received after 90 days.

The problem with a PIP, however, is that unless there are some meausrable performance metrics associated with the PIP, then you would have no means of proving that you performed. So, you may want to wait out the 115 days, and then assuming that you are reinstated, then file the wage claim -- otherwise, the employer could simply claim that you did not perform, and so you would have no bonus, and then probably no job.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the answer. I was terminated yesterday, so I may file the breach of contract with the labor board.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
I believe you will have to take your claim to small claims court, if you only want to sue for $7,500 or less, or find an employment rights lawyer, if you want to sue for more than that amount).

The problem is that DLSE will reject claims that are not extremely straightforward, because the claims process is not intended to deal with complex litigation. Noble v. Draper (2008) 160 Cal. App. 4th 1.

Your claim is effectively that the employer offered you contined employment based upon your satisfying a PIP, and then it terminated you before you could complete that performance. This may not be something that the DLSE will want to spend its resources determining -- however,
you have nothing to lose by filing the DLSE claim, because if it's rejected, then you can try the other possibilities.

You can, also file an unemployment claim.

To file a DLSE claim, see this link.

To file an unemployment claim, see this link.

To file a small claims court claim, see this link.

To find an employment rights lawyer, see this link.

Hope this helps.

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