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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I signed a contract with my employer for relocation assistance

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I signed a contract with my employer for relocation assistance to accept a full time position in the ICU at a local hospital. Upon starting employment, I have had on average one shift per week cancelled due to overstaffing. My contract states that I am agreeing to full time employment, but they haven't been providing me with full time hours. Could this be considered a reason to get out of the contract I signed? Due to me being cancelled so much, I am unable to support my family on the paycheck I bring home. I have tried to resolve with HR, but they are unwilling to waive the contract. Any advice would be appreciated.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Your best argument to refute payment would typically be that your employer's failure to provide full-time hours constitutes a material breach of contract, thus entitling you to cancellation without repayment of relocation assistance.

"Material breach" is generally defined as a breach which deprives the other party of "substantial benefit" which he or she could have reasonably panticipated under the contract. In determining whether a material breach has occurred, courts will also consider the greater or less hardship on the party failing to perform in terminating the contract and the willful, negligent, or innocent behavior of the party failing to perform. (See, e.g. Bishop Trust Co. v. Kamokila Development Corp., (1977) 555 P. 2d 1193.)

Failing to provide full time employment, and thus full time pay, arguably amounts to deprivation of a "substantial benefit," especially if you are unable to support your family on what you are making.

A letter to your employer desribing their failure to provide full-time work as a material breach thus entitling you to cancellation without penalty would ordinarily be your best course of action. Ideally, you'd want this letter to come from a local attorney so that it will be taken most seriously. Many local attorneys can write this sort of letter for a flat fee not exceeding $400.

To locate an attorney who can help, see here:

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.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes and kindest regards.
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