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I have an employment contract with my current company. The…

Hello, I have an...

Hello, I have an employment contract with my current company. The position was a senior leadership position reporting directly to the vice president. Last March the individual who hired me left the company due to health reasons and the position was taken over by a new person. Soon after he restructured my position out of the senior leadership level and now has me reporting to one my past colleagues because he simply did not have the time to deal with managing this position. Is this considered a breach? I'm no longer on the SLT team, have been removed from my office and placed in a cubicle and treated as a junior. My responsibilities, title, and salary remain, but I'm not happy. Furthermore, I owe the company a substantial amount of money from a relocation if I quit before March 2018. I want to pursue other opportunities, However, I do not want to move forward if it means that I am breaching the contract giving the company the green light to pursue the relo costs under the contract. Please help and thank you in advance.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Florida

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

At will, full time

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No, I believe that is all for now

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
11/13/2017
John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,987
Experience: Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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A few questions - does the contract state with any level of specificity that you'd be in a particular job position, who you'd be reporting to, level of management. In other words, does it state more than the title, salary?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Copies and pasted directly from the contract: Names have been removed.I am very pleased to make an offer of employment as a SBU Project Leader, with an effective start date no earlier than November 16, 2015, or upon receipt and review of your background check and drug screen results. You will be reporting to XXXX XXXX, VP of Global Orthodontics SBU. We are excited about the contributions we believe you can make and look forward to working with you.This letter outlines the details of our offer. This offer will remain valid until and through October 22, 2015, and is subject to the preconditions stated below.Also, this was in the agreement as well. While the position is in Florida, HQ is in PA.18. This Agreement shall be construed and enforced in accordance with the laws and judicial
decisions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
19. Any action brought to enforce or interpret the terms of this Agreement may be brought in
the Court of Common Pleas of York County or, if it would otherwise have jurisdiction, in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

In my opinion you have a difficult case to prove breach of contract. Most of the promises made to you were probably extracontractual – in other words you in the former VP verbally or impliedly had an agreement as to what you'd be doing. However, that never made it into the written contract and written contracts are deemed to be an integration of all prior oral discussions and implications. Put another way, you cannot have a oral or implied contract were written one exists.

What you've shown me of this contract only states you reporting to a specific person who was VP of Global orthodontics. He/she is no longer there, so the employer assigned you to a new person. I do not believe a court would rule that this is a substantial and material change in the terms (of the written contract) of your employment or rule in your favor. If you really really want to challenge us you could bring an action in Pennsylvania for declaratory ruling as to whether the contract was breached or not. The court would make that final decision, but as I stated above, I do not believe they would rule in your favor for the reasons stated above.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation - simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers (even though the website already charged you, it does not credit me with the answer unless and until you indicate you are satisfied with the answer). If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Im not sure I understand what you mean by verbal promises. Also, the person who took over the duties as VP also took over the position as VP, then once promoted, restructured me out of his team. So while it does list a specific name in my letter, it also names the position I reported to, which still exists. Am I off on this assumption? I took the liberty of loading the letter and agreement to ensure you have all the info.(excluding names, etc.) Please advise and thanks!

I reviewed your letter. Nowhere in the letter it is a state anything in regard to you being promised any specific job tasks duties etc. for the duration of your employment. The only thing it promises you is a job description salary benefits, bonus and preconditions to employment and that you'd report to XXX who was the VP at that time, but is no longer. Thus I remain of the opinion that you would lose in breach of contract matter.

What I mean about verbal promises is that perhaps you had talked with the former VP before you joined and he or she promised you X, Y, and Z job duties for the rest of your career at the company. But because you have this written agreement it's assumed to have integrated all your verbal promises. In other words, you cannot use those prior conversations as evidence that you have a contract to a position with specific duties. Changing you from reporting to the VP to someone else most likely isn't going to be considered by the court to be a material breach of the contract because that person is no longer there and nothing stops them from changing this. Thus, as I stated before, I do not believe you would establish a case of breach of contract in this matter. If you disagree with this, what I would recommend you do is file a claim for declaratory action, for breach of contract, against the company in Pennsylvania. And let the court decide whether the employer breached the contract. I do not believe be successful in this, but at least you would know. Hope this answers your questions. Thanks.

John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,987
Experience: Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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