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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11248
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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The company I was working to start a new company and over a

Customer Question

The company I was working for decided to start a new company and over a few days, asked everyone to sign a new contract. I didn't sign mine for a week. Then they said I had to sign it or not get paid. I signed it, but changed the pay as I was promised a raise back in June and never got it. They told me I couldn't change the contract. Since then, nothing. It's been a month. I've asked for a copy of my signed contract and have not gotten a response. If they don't sign my contract, but I am still working for them and getting paid from the new company, what rights do I have?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
This is in the state of CA.
Could I file for unemployment against the original company?
Ideally, I'd like to get paid my new rate back from June, but will take it from start of new co, which was Nov 1st.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Unless you had an agreement to the contrary, you were and are an "at will" employee which means the terms of your employment can be changed at any time. This means that your employer can give you a new contract, which whatever terms they want, and condition your further employment on you signing it. You are free to negotiate, but ultimately if you fail to reach an agreement or if your employer doesn't want to negotiate they have no obligation to continue employing you.

Your employer cannot condition payment for already earned wages on you signing a new contract. You could likely rescind such contract on the ground that you signed it under duress if that happens. However, you cannot unilaterally change your pay but changing the contract. In order for any pay raise to be valid, your employer has to agree to it. Even then, since your employment is at will, they can decide to reduce your pay to its previous level at any time.

As far as unemployment goes, you are eligible for unemployment if the EDD finds that you are unemployed "through no fault of your own." If you are offered a comparable job with the new company and refuse it, you will not be unemployed through no fault of your own since you made the voluntary decision to refuse work. If the terms of the new job are substantially worse than your existing job, though, then this would not be an offer of comparable or "suitable" work and you would still be eligible. Since you are clearly being offered a job with the new company, your entitlement to UI benefits will simply come down to whether the new job is suitable. The EDD has held that if your rate of pay is no more than 30% less and if the job responsibilities are at least roughly equal, the new job will be deemed "suitable" and refusal to accept it will be grounds for UI disqualification.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
your saying that the "terms of your employment can be changed at any time" Even if that is to a new company? My employer now is a different company name.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Yes, even with a new company. Basically, no law requires an employer to keep employing someone, unless the parties have entered into an express agreement to the contrary. "At will" employment means the employment relationship is subject to termination or a change of terms at any time for virtually any reason.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 12 months ago.

Was I able to answer your question here? Please let me know if I can provide any further assistance.....

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