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Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27998
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I just moved to southern california to begin working for a

Customer Question

I just moved to southern california to begin working for a company, I signed a job contract with them but when i got here and started filling out paperwork on the first day they said that they can no longer offer me health insurance for which they put in writing that they would pay 60% of. I have been here a month and I have no health insurance. What I want to do is negotiate for more vacation time in order to compensate for the difference (i have 2 big reunions coming up next summer that I need to attend but forgot about them and signed the contract for one week vacation after working there for a year). Wondering if the fact that they said that they would pay 60% of my health insurance costs is still binding and if my idea of asking for more vacation time is reasonable. I did the math and it equals out to about the same. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. You say that you signed a contract. Could you possibly mean that you signed a job offer letter?

2. Is the employer's representative's signature on this document as well, or just your signature?

3. How much money are we talking here?

4. Did you relocate specifically for the job, and if so, what were your relocation expenses like?

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I signed an "employment agreement". It was over email and here is what the email message said that contained the attachment and belwo that is the exact wording on the document. DEAR XXXXX,



IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE FOR ME TO PRESENT TO YOU THIS OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT AND WELCOME YOU TO JOIN THE T-Y FAMILY!! WE ARE IMPRESSED WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS AND FEEL YOU WILL MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT AS YOU WORK WITH THE T-Y NURSERY TEAM.


THIS WILL CONFIRM OUR OFFER TO YOU TO BECOME OUR INSIDE SALES/CUSTOMER SERVICE/ QUALITY CONTROL REPRESENTATIVE.


AGAIN, WELCOME TO THE T-Y NURSERY TEAM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU.


2.2 Heath Insurance Benifits. Upon the successful completion of the introductory period the employee shall be entitled to participate in Employer's health insurance plan, with the Employer paying 65% of the monthly premiums and Employee paying the remaining 35% of the monthly premiums.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I signed this and sent it back to them.


 


 

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning,

Thank you for the additional information. It was, unfortunately, as I suspected. That is an offer letter and not a contract. Offer letters are binding, but unlike a contract that is often binding for a set amount of time, an offer letter is binding only until one party or the other makes changes. The employer has the right to discontinue insurance or any other benefit they choose---and they still have the legal ability to let you go for no reason at all because you are an employee at will.

And you have the ability to walk away from the job at any time, without penalty---again, because you are an employee at will.

So long as the employer gives advanced notice of the change in benefits--any advanced notice will do so long as the notice is not retroactive---then you need to decide whether to continue working based on the new compensation or leave. The fact that you were notified of the benefit change soon after arriving, and before your eligibility for the benefit actually started, then notification was within the law. The initial agreement to pay part of your medical is not a legally binding contractual agreement.

You certainly have the ability to come back to them and ask for the additional paid time off if that is what you think is fair. It is your right, and would be only fair for them to consider your attempt, to re-negotiate the deal now that they have unilaterally decreased your compensation/benefit package.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.


I wish you the best in your future.

Doug




Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Doug,


i was cut off and somehow it posted half way through my response to you before i could finish writing what I needed to say. Here is what I wanted to reply to you last time with. If you have anything further to say, if this changes any of your answers please let me know.


 


I signed an "employment agreement". It was over email and here is what the email message said that contained the attachment. I have also attached the document for you.


 


DEAR XXXXX,


IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE FOR ME TO PRESENT TO YOU THIS OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT AND WELCOME YOU TO JOIN THE T-Y FAMILY!! WE ARE IMPRESSED WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS AND FEEL YOU WILL MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT AS YOU WORK WITH THE T-Y NURSERY TEAM.

THIS WILL CONFIRM OUR OFFER TO YOU TO BECOME OUR INSIDE SALES/CUSTOMER SERVICE/ QUALITY CONTROL REPRESENTATIVE.

AGAIN, WELCOME TO THE T-Y NURSERY TEAM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU.


Heath insurance is likely to run me about 300 dollars/month. There part would be 195 per month if my math is right. That is about 2340/ year. All i want is to have an extra week of vacation the first 2 years, so that I will have 2 weeks of vacation per year, not just one, and I want to take my first week of vacation around the 8 month mark. My paychecks after taxes come to about 1800 dollars and I receive them 2x per month. This company is not dishonest as far as I know, they have a pretty good reputation and have taken very good care of me so far but I know they are very shrewd. I just want to know what I have gotten myself into and if I have ground to stand on asking for more vacation time in lieu of them not being able to provide me with health insurance compensation.


I did relocate, they payed for my moving pod, my gas to get here, and 3 days in hotel rooms. I ended up going out of pocket a couple thousand dollars myself trying to get situated and adjusted to this new place. Moving has a lot of hidden costs. It took me about a week to find a place to live once I got here. They did not pay for the additional nights that I need to have a hotel room which I did not expect.


Please see my attachment and thank you for your help.


Amy

 



Attachment: 2013-10-20_162554_vowell_employmentagreementpdf.pdf

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Hi Amy,

I apologize for any malfunction of the site in allowing you to post your entire message.

While you do have a contract with the employer, you are also clearly classified in that contract as an employee at will, and they can choose to let you go, and you may leave at any time if that is what you choose. And because there is no term of employment and no guarantee of the time your compensation package will be in effect, it is also subject to change by the employer as long as they give you notice, as I previously described.

The only thing that changes is that if you choose to quit based on their refusal to now pay your medical, you can seek damages based on your additional and uncompensated moving expenses to relocate to your new residence based on a theory that you detrimentally relied on their promise to pay for part of your medical coverage. This is a form of Breach of Contract, and the equitable legal principal is that they are obligated to make you whole. If you plan to move back to where you came from, you can also ask for the relocation expenses in doing that as well.

Aside from that breach of contract issue, there is no change to the information that I have already provided you. I fully agree with you that what you are proposing is eminently fair, and you should make the proposal to the employer.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.


I wish you the best in your future.

Doug

LawTalk, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 27998
Experience: I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
LawTalk and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Amy. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise. I am generally available at least 6 days a week, and often 7, and it would be my privilege to assist you again in the future.

I welcome you to request my assistance in any future legal questions you may have, by simply placing my name in the first sentence of your new question.


Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It would be tremendously appreciated.

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