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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11933
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I signed an employment agreement under duress. The employee

Customer Question

I signed an employment agreement under duress. The employee agreement that I signed stated I had resigned my position which is not true. They told me that my position had been eliminated and I no longer had a job. Would I have a possible case? Is this considered a misrepresentation of the contract that I was asked to sign? Could this contract be ended due to the misrepresenation and the fact that the letter was signed under duress?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 3 years ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

What does the contract ask / require of you? That is, is there a non-compete agreement in it? Is it that you won't file for unemployment?

ScottyMacEsq :

And did you actually receive anything in exchange (severance, bonus, etc...) for signing it?

Customer : The agreement ask/ requires that I am not allowed to raise any claims against them due to discrimnation, wrongful termination, and that arise from me being terminated. They did give me 2 weeks worth of severance pay for signing the agreement
ScottyMacEsq :

Does it mention unemployment?

Customer : No it does not. I feel that I was discriminated against. I had been doing the job since May, was trained on the position but I was never offered the position. I asked about the position and I was fully qualified for it. And they hired an outside person to take the combined position
ScottyMacEsq :

On what basis do you feel that you were discriminated against? That is, age, religion, gender, etc...?

Customer : Based on race
ScottyMacEsq :

Were you the only person of your race at this office / under your supervisor? Was this action taken against anyone else of your race?

Customer : They curreently have 3 cases pending aginst them in different departments. Same general manager though and same race as me for either denial of promotion or denial of raise
ScottyMacEsq :

Sorry for the delay, I had to step away from the desk for a few minutes...

ScottyMacEsq :

One moment please while I research this, and will get back to you shortly...

ScottyMacEsq :

Generally speaking, one can waive his or her rights in a severance agreement. "Duress" is a defense to a breach of contract action, and to be honest, it's very difficult to show duress. You pretty much need to show that you were in imminent fear of bodily injury, and that you were essentially threatened with physical violence if you did not sign.

ScottyMacEsq :

Now as to whether the waiver is enforceable, that's another matter.

ScottyMacEsq :

Although most signed waivers are enforceable if they meet certain contract principles and statutory requirements, an employer cannot lawfully limit your right to testify, assist, or participate in an investigation, hearing, or proceeding conducted by the EEOC or prevent you from filing a charge of discrimination with the agency. An employer also cannot lawfully require you to return the money or benefits it gave you in exchange for waving your rights if you do file a charge.

ScottyMacEsq :

So you can still file a complaint with the EEOC, and they cannot stop that or require that you return your consideration (the two weeks pay)

ScottyMacEsq :

They could try to say that this was a valid waiver and that you cannot sue them for wrongful termination. And in that, you would have to show that it was not a knowing and/or willing waiver of your rights under the EEOC.

Customer : Well I understand that there is also the term of undue influence which can also be a defense to end contract
ScottyMacEsq :

Undue influence is where there is a party that has control over a certain aspect of your life, etc... Most undue influence cases come in the form of will contests, in that one recipient under a will is saying that another influenced the will drafter, in that the drafter felt that the person benefited would no longer care for him/her if the change was not made.

ScottyMacEsq :

Undue influence is an equitable doctrine that involves one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person, to such an extent where free will to bargain is not possible.

Customer :

what happens with EEOC

Customer :

They jsut review the company?

ScottyMacEsq :

But the court has to determine that the person lost their ability to think clearly and to make a rational decision, which is very rare unless you actually have some mental defect.

ScottyMacEsq :

As to the EEOC...

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, they can review the company, but also pursue civil charges against them, fine them, force them to institute new policies, etc...

Customer :

alright well i will go that route and see what will come of it. Thank you very much for your assistance with my matter

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please select the "accept" button. If you have already clicked "accept", or if you will in the future, please let me know so I can track these for my own reports and customer satisfaction stats. Thank you, and again, good luck to you!

Customer :

i am clicking accept. You have been very helpful.

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11933
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
ScottyMacEsq and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 3 years ago.
Thank you, and again, I wish you the best of luck!

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