Breach of Contract
When an employer makes a promise, they should stick to it. And when an employer puts certain promises in an employment contract, then they are legally obligated to make good.
But what happens if your employer is not living up to their end of the bargain? Follow these steps to resolve the dispute.
Review Your Employment Contract
Have you really read your contract closely? Chances are, you glanced at a few provisions dealing with salary and time off but did not read the fine print. Now you should. There might be some legal provision snuck into the agreement that allows your employer to reduce your salary or limit when you take vacation.
Because contracts can be confusing, you should consult with an employment lawyer if you do not understand anything. Your lawyer can tell you what your rights are and whether your employer is currently violating the agreement.
Speak to Your Boss
If you are sure your employer is not following the contract, then raise the issue directly. They might not be aware that you are not getting everything they have promised you.
Ask your employer if they can meet with you for a half hour and tell them it is about your employment contract. This gives them a chance to review it before the meeting. Take a copy of your contract with you and highlight the section that you think applies.
There are really no magical words you need to say at the meeting. Instead, point out what part of the contract you think your employer is not following and ask for an explanation. If your boss agrees that they are breaching the contract, ask how long it will take for them to get into compliance.
Sometimes, there are legitimate disputes about what a contract requires. If so, you might consider mediation with your boss. Unless you intend to leave the job, you want to preserve your relationship as much as possible, and mediation might do the trick. Read your contract or employee manual, because you might have already agreed to mediate any dispute.
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which parties in disagreement meet with a neutral mediator. The mediator does not make decisions or act as a judge. Instead, she listens to each side, clarifies areas of agreement and disagreement, and helps come up with solutions each side can live with. Mediation is voluntary, and you can walk away if you are unhappy with how it is proceeding.
Consult with a New Jersey Employment Lawyer
If you cannot reach an agreement with your employer, it is probably time to talk to a lawyer. Discuss the pros and cons of bringing a lawsuit, since doing so will probably make the work relationship go sour. Nevertheless, you do have options, such as suing to enforce the contract or pursuing arbitration, which is another form of alternative dispute resolution.
At the Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP, we advocate on behalf of employees whose employers violate their rights. If you have a question about an employment contract, feel free to contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.