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Workplace rescinding on a promise made upon hire.

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by Ramiro, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Ramiro

    Ramiro Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    We are in California in case it helps when giving advice on her situation.

    My wife was hired at her workplace back in February. Part of her negotiation at hire was that they would accommodate her university schedule by allowing her to leave a little early on certain days so that she could make it to class on time. Every semester she leaves one hour early two days a week.

    The arrangement has been fine up until this past Thursday. Her new manager gave her an ultimatum to decide by Tuesday. She told her that they can no longer accommodate her school schedule, and that she could no longer request time-off like other employees do because her position as receptionist requires her to be there at all times, and that my wife had to make a decision by Tuesday whether she agreed to this or not.

    We believe this came about after some days off that she had while she was sick last week. She also had approved a couple of hours off at the end of her day on yesterday for a parent-teacher conference we had to attend for my son, and a couple of hours that were also approved for next Wednesday for my daughter’s preschool event in the morning.

    Her main function as receptionist/admin is answering the phones. There are two other admins that also answer the phones and have done so many many times.

    A little more background on her employer. Her last manager wrote my wife up on a final for several points that they never followed up on after. Long story short, my wife was informed that she had made a number of mistakes that were never brought to her attention and was accused of showing up late or taking longer lunches. I helped her write a rebuttal statement because much of what they accused her of was false and she was able to prove it with time cards and the other was due to lack of proper training and she opened up to her manager and hr about her ADHD and anxiety disorders which she frequently sees a psychiatrist for medication and attends therapy as well to help her manage her life better. After all this, they never gave her proper training, instead they took tasks away from her and reduced it essentially to just answering phones. Sometime after, her former manager left the company and even the head of HR who hired my wife and approved her leaving early for school on certain days left the company as well.

    Now my wife’s anxiety is going through the roof so she scheduled another appointment to her therapist today. My wife has one more year before she graduates from her university, and her manager only giving her until Tuesday doesn’t give my wife the time to decide what to do next.

    She was doing well after the situation she had formerly with the last manager, but this new manager claims to have no knowledge of my wife’s ADHD and anxiety issues that were brought forth to people that no longer work there.

    Also, the other admins she works with frequently show up late and frequently leave early. In fact, my wife’s last manager admitted to allowing one of the other admins to leave early daily otherwise she has a hard time finding parking at her apartment complex.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A promise does not a contract make.

    Apparently your spouse will no longer BE given the GIFT of flexibility.

    Hers is not a legal issue.

    It is not a contract issue, as she never had an employment contract.

    She must decide whether she will comply, or end up terminated.

    Just as she could quit anytime, her employer is free to change her schedule and/or duties anytime.

    Today, unlike the days of old, people can matriculate most universities without ever sitting through weeks of lectures in some nondescript college lecture hall, opting for the comfort of one's home.

    If I were in her position with the end of the semester passed (or looming), I'd arrange to continue my studies remotely using internet access.

    A tragic outcome can be avoided, if she smiles and complies.

    She can also use the time to seek employment that accommodates her current arrangement.
     
    shadowbunny likes this.
  3. Ramiro

    Ramiro Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Just out of curiosity, when is a verbal agreement a contract then? I am not an attorney which is why i posted here. However, after looking around, there appear to be varying situations depending on who you ask where a verbal agreement can be considered a contract. This was done as a stipulation she made prior to her being hired. They agreed and it was good for sometime. If she had known they were going to rescind on the agreement, she would have gone with other offers.

    Also, i agree with you about her taking online courses. In fact, i have suggested it before, however as she gets closer to the end at her university it is becoming increasingly difficult for her to find classes even in the evenings. The classes she needs are not available online.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    She should start looking for new employment that works with her school schedule. The employer is well within rights in the scenario you describe.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    A contract requires that there be consideration on both sides. Their consideration - what they provided for her - was the extra time off. What additional consideration, other than her showing up for work, did this promise to give her time off for school - provide to them? How was the employer benefited by this arrangement?
     
  6. Ramiro

    Ramiro Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The only thing it provided to them was her accepting their offer over other offers that were made to her at the time.

    So let’s say for a minute she just goes along with their change or she leaves, but let’s just say that she goes with it. What about the the part about time-off requests? They give all employees at her work vacation time and have historically been very lenient with everyone about any time off they need. In fact, one of the other employees in her the office is often taking off time for her children. I even know this from my own conversations with that employee because her son is on my son’s baseball team. And they allow the other admins to leave early all the time.

    I am simply wondering how it is “legal” for employees as a whole to be granted time-off whenever needed, but not my wife who is being told she can NEVER request time-off. If the answer to this is that yes employers can do that, then what is she supposed to do with the vacation time they give her?
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    There are oral contracts.

    What you describe was simply the employer doing her a favor.

    It might even have been a promise, but it was never a contract.

    She was hired to do a job.

    She was nothing more than millions of other employee, "at will" employees.

    Many executive shave contracts, as do entertainers, actors, professional ball players, etc...

    Those kinds of people have contracts.

    A janitor, a waitress, a cab driver, a receptionist, a nurse, almost every occupation/profession you can think of, hired by an employer are simply "at will" employees.

    That might be true, but nothing described is illegal.

    Equal treatment doesn't mean that every employee gets the same thing.

    Just as parents have favorites, so do some employers.


    If she has five vacation days, whe will be allowed to take those days.

    That isn't what you described.

    You said the previous supervisor allowed her to leave early.

    I suppose that was without using her vacation time, or leave time.

    The new supervisor isn't required to do what the previous one did.

    Receptionists are very easy to obtain.

    An experienced electrical engineer (on salary) wouldn't have the issue a receptionist has.

    Lower enlisted military personnel need to have a pass if one wants to go 500 miles away form base, for example.

    A newly commissioned 2nd LT doesn't require one, as she/he is trusted to be at the appointed place on time the next day.

    If your wife thinks she is being treated unfairly, she should make a formal complaint to HR.

    I don't advise she do this, as I'm only saying she COULD choose to do that.

    She can be replaced very easily.

    If you can be replaced easily, you normally don't make loud noises or pull on the bosses "Super Cape".
     
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  8. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    The only thing it provided to them was her accepting their offer over other offers that were made to her at the time.

    That's why it is not a contract. They did not receive any consideration - only she did.

    It sounds to me as if she's not allowed to take time off during the day, not that she's not allowed to take any vacation. And there's nothing illegal about that; different jobs have different requirements.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  9. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    If she feels that this is causing her such overwhelming stress. She should depart this employment any way. Since as you stated she had other offers of employment it shouldn't be hard for her to find less stressful employment. Being a cripple myself i always keep in mind what is best for me as well. Plus, I would always try to keep my employer happy because they also have a business to run.
     

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