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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20228
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I am seeking an answer on employment law, I work in GA for a

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I am seeking an answer on employment law

JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Customer: I work in GA for a company that is based in FL

JA: Has anything been filed or reported?

Customer: no

JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Customer: no

I am currently employed with a company based in FL and live in GA. The appointment letter states that this will be a remote position. I have been there for almost 9 months with a substantial bonus to be paid at 12 months. I have never had a review or been told I need to do anything differently, but was told Wednesday that I had to be in FL or we would need to discuss termination. I was completely candid up front (as stated in my appointment) that moving was not an option. So they are now posing 6 weeks before I leave. I am trying to understand my rights because I know FL is tricky...I have never had a review except the two emails from the CEO and COO providing a GLOWING review of my work except for my location - I am a 40 year old female with 6 weeks to find a new job in a tough industry balanced now against a 2 year non-compete agreement. I still have 6 days of vacation unpaid and some benefits that never came to fruition. What are my rights if any?


Thank you for your information and your question, although I am not exactly sure what rights you are asking about since that is a very broad question. I will cover the basic issues and if you have a specific question, you can ask it in a follow up.

First and foremost, Florida and Georgia law, as with most states, are virtually identical in regards ***** ***** relevant issues you raised. Unless you have a specific term contract that lays out all of the terms and conditions of employment and only allows for termination for "cause," then you are considered an "at will" employee. Also, unless you have that same contract that says the laws of Florida apply to a dispute, the law of Georgia would apply. Again though, that issue is moot since they are the same type laws in both states. This goes for wages, discrimination, etc. The appointment letter is not a term contract unless it says it is, so all of those terms and conditions can be changed prospectively.

So, assuming you don't have that contract I mentioned and are "at will" your employer can let you go for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning unless doing so is motivated by your gender, race, national origin, age (over 40), disability, religion, pregnancy or military service.

Neither State, nor Federal law, requires that an employer pay out any accrued unpaid vacation upon termination unless there is a contract that says it will be. Then it becomes a contract issue and not a wage law issue if there is a contract.

Again, please feel free to ask follow up questions if you have them. If none, then if you could take a moment to let me know I covered your questions and also to leave a positive rating of my efforts to explain the law of your issue to you, then the Site will give me credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for the reply. I am a female over 40. Do I have no recourse to break the non-compete to find something else? Or is there literally nothing that I can do to aim for longer time to look for a job, attain my guaranteed bonus or break the non-compete?

You're welcome. In terms of the bonus payment, it depends on a few things. If the bonus terms are in writing and they are guaranteed regardless of whether or not you are employed at the end of the bonus period, then you could have a contract action for breach if they are not paid to you. The only other way the bonus payments could be pursued if there is evidence that you were targeted for termination because of your gender or age. The age discrimination is very difficult to establish because the law in regards ***** ***** requires that your age be the only reason for your termination. As opposed to the other types of discrimination which only require proof that those factors are a reason.

As for the non-compete, this forum is just too restrictive for us to be able to effectively address these agreements. The law is very complex when it comes to enforceability and tied to all of the very minute facts of each specific case. I would highly recommend that you take your non-compete to a local employment law attorney who has experience with non-competes and let them review it in light of how it was formed, what it says, what your duties are, and what your plans are in the future. They can actually give you a legal opinion about its potential enforcement and give you some options to resolve it.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
OK last question...An appointment letter outlining agreements, benefits, etc with both parties signing is NOT considered binding even stating "...accept and undertake to abide by all the aforesaid terms and conditions" and the bonus does state "on the one year anniversary" but does not state that I had to still be employed there.

I can't give you a legal opinion, not only because I have not reviewed the document, but also because I am not your attorney and we do not have an attorney-client relationship. I can only tell you that unless you have a term contract (an actual contract that is binding as to all terms for a specific period of time), the employment agreement can always be changed prospectively and employment terminated. So, although an offer letter/appointment letter is binding at the time issued and signed, it is, again, always subject to change prospectively. It is binding as to the past, but not going forward once the employer lets the employee know that they are changing the terms and conditions of employment.

As to the bonus, if it is paid on "one year anniversary," then if you are no longer employed on that anniversary, it is not payable to you. Again though, if there is evidence that there was discrimination on the basis we discussed, then the termination would not be lawful and therefore the bonus would be part of damages for premature termination. Otherwise, no discrimination, no bonus unless still employed at one year anniversary.

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