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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Question about renewing contract

Resolved Question:

I have been working in an international organization for six years. My contract's duration was for one year, but it had been renewed every year (my annual work evaluation is always good). I took maternity leave from last Dec to this March. I had a work meeting with my big boss at the end of this Feberuary and he seemed satisfied with my work. BUT I received a letter this May saying my contract would only be extended to the end of this year instead of renewed because of budget reason(everybody knows it is an excuse). Then I talked with him that day and he promised to renew my contract if I work hard during the following two months. Now two months had passed. What should I do if he eat his words and does not renew my contract even I work very hard? Thanks.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
Unfortunately, depending upon the exact wording in the contract, they most likely are under no obligation to renew, as long as it is not for discriminatory reasons. If you have proof of the fact that your contract is not being renewed for discriminatory reasons (sex, pregnancy, etc) then you will need to take that proof and file a complaint with the EEOC. The problem is that right now everyone knows the economy is bad and many companies are laying off or not hiring, so while it may be a pretext for discrimination, you will have the burden of proving that it is a pretext through a preponderance of the evidence.


If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to PaulMJD's Post: Thank you for your answer. I have two follow-up questions:
1) Why he does not say clearly: you will leave the company by the end of this year so that I have some hopeless hope?
2) Is there anything else I could save myself not in such bad situation?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
I do not know the reasons for the comments he is making. Perhaps he does intend to keep you if your work is satisfactory and the business economy allows.

The only thing you can do to "save" yourself, is do your job to the best of your ability and keep records of your performance and also keep track of any evidence you uncover that this may be based upon your pregnancy or gender, so you can go to the EEOC if you need to.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. My baby is still six month now. I could choose to stay at home and take longer maternity leave since I have a lot of vacation and sick leave. The benefit of my returning work so early (I only take three month of maternity leave) is to get fired. Could I argue that I have a young baby and it is unfair to get fired right away after coming back to work?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
Not really. Again, they can refuse to renew your contract for any reason as long as it is not discriminatory. If you return to work early, that is your choice and a sign that you are trying to do what is best for the company. As long as they do not fire you or refuse to renew because you have a baby or because you used maternity leave or because you are a woman, then they can terminate your contract pursuant to its terms. Companies use the argument of essential job requirements when combatting this type of leave and you are only protected under FMLA for 12 weeks. The company will argue that an essential job requirement is that you come to work to do your job and after 12 weeks your job is not protected under FMLA.


If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. My last question before I click the green button: what is the probability to win the case (based on your experience) if I go to EEOC to sue him and the the company?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 years ago.
Once you go to the EEOC, they have 180 days to investigate at which time they either complete the investigation and issue a letter of finding of probable cause or no probable cause. If they do not complete the investigation in 180 days they will issue a right to sue letter.

In these cases, it is very difficult to prove discrimination without some evidence, especially if the employer comes in and argues bad economy as a legitimate business reason. You will need evidence to overcome the company's defense of legitimate business reason. Many times, if you do file a claim and EEOC does not complete its investigation in time, you can file suit and these companies will settle for some amount. But, if you file your EEOC claim and there is a finding of no probable cause, you will have no claim. Again, right now, unless you have some evidence or witnesses on your behalf, bad economy is likely to be considered a legitimate business reason.

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