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SCMasterchef

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Breach of Contract
« on: Dec 18, 2013, 01:02 »
My question is simple.  I have been a road person for nearly 30 years and for the first time I think I have been taken.  I know in the road world that a projected position duration can at any time be shortened by the client.  However in this particular case I was given a duration (start date and end date (not anticipated) by a contract company.  In this particular case I was working on an extended contract with another company and at a different location.  A contract company contacted me to offer me a position at a location that was a 1 year contract.  At the time the work scope at the existing location was scheduled out 4 more months beyond the scheduled completion date.  So because of the eight month difference in time I elected to take the one year position.  The contract company gave me a contract for one year (dates reflected).  When I arrived at the work location, the PM indicated that the work was only scheduled for 2 months.  I explained that I had a contract with the staff aug company that stated one year.  They indicated they did not know where the staff aug company that the dates they gave me but that was never discussed between the utility and the staff aug company.   I would like to know if anyone knows if I were to file a lawsuit for breach of contract if it would be filed in the state where the work is or in my permanent state of residence?  This job will have cost me a lot of money in mobilization, demobilization, trips home, and etc.  In almost 30 years of contracting I have never had a Company outright lie to me about a job duration.  If a lawyer is my option can anyone tell me what type of lawyer should be contacted.

Offline GLW

Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #1 on: Dec 18, 2013, 01:07 »
.....In almost 30 years of contracting I have never had a Company outright lie to me about a job duration.....

you have been far luckier than most,...

....I would like to know if anyone knows if I were to file a lawsuit for breach of contract if it would be filed in the state where the work is or in my permanent state of residence?....If a lawyer is my option can anyone tell me what type of lawyer should be contacted....

Probably need to sue in the state where their DBA is filed,...

Perhaps also your home state,....

A good contract lawyer you pay for is worth infinitely more than the free advice of twenty nukeworkers on this one,...

good luck, tread carefully,....GLW
« Last Edit: Dec 18, 2013, 01:14 by GLW »

been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline Marlin

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #2 on: Dec 18, 2013, 01:41 »
   Go back and look at the at the contract/offer letter again did they say they had a one year contract or you had a one year contract? Did you sign a contract or an offer letter, or a contingent offer letter? It is rare that a contract company gives you a contract if that is what you signed.

Offline hamsamich

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #3 on: Dec 18, 2013, 01:46 »
Don't be so sure it is a lie.  I'm not saying it is your fault at all, just that the way these companies work is so hap-hazard sometimes.  Combined with some of them not really caring about your fate beyond next week; lets just call it "malicious recruiting". They need to fill a slot now without knowing all the data, and will make any "assumption" they feel is more or less the truth based on partial information so they can get the ball rolling and fill a spot, and the assumptions will most likely be skewed to look more favorable to you.

It is either an outright lie (meaning they knew all the facts and totally changed everything to get you there), a "calculated" lie (meaning they didn't know all the facts but fed you what you wanted to hear specifically because they knew your situation), malicious recruiting (see above), or an honest mistake or miscommunication by the company or the recruiting company.

Either way it would be nice to have some satisfaction in these cases since tens of thousands of dollars or even more could be at stake for us worker bees.  It would make the contract company more likely to get the information right if they had some skin in the game besides returnee rate and client satisfaction.

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #4 on: Dec 18, 2013, 03:15 »
My question is simple.  I have been a road person for nearly 30 years and for the first time I think I have been taken.  I know in the road world that a projected position duration can at any time be shortened by the client.  However in this particular case I was given a duration (start date and end date (not anticipated) by a contract company.  In this particular case I was working on an extended contract with another company and at a different location.  A contract company contacted me to offer me a position at a location that was a 1 year contract.  At the time the work scope at the existing location was scheduled out 4 more months beyond the scheduled completion date.  So because of the eight month difference in time I elected to take the one year position.  The contract company gave me a contract for one year (dates reflected).  When I arrived at the work location, the PM indicated that the work was only scheduled for 2 months.  I explained that I had a contract with the staff aug company that stated one year.  They indicated they did not know where the staff aug company that the dates they gave me but that was never discussed between the utility and the staff aug company.   I would like to know if anyone knows if I were to file a lawsuit for breach of contract if it would be filed in the state where the work is or in my permanent state of residence?  This job will have cost me a lot of money in mobilization, demobilization, trips home, and etc.  In almost 30 years of contracting I have never had a Company outright lie to me about a job duration.  If a lawyer is my option can anyone tell me what type of lawyer should be contacted.


So... you dragged up on a job that had 4 more months to it to go to a job that was a 1 yr promise, and now you are pissed because the grass wasn't greener when you got there....
Did you SIGN a contract with the company you left? Did you honor it?
Did you SIGN a contract with the one you went to?
Or did you get a job letter, that stated the expected terms of the job?
A contract usually requires signatures of both parties, and then it's a contract.
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SCMasterchef

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #5 on: Dec 18, 2013, 03:23 »
Mr. Housedad,

Did you read my post.  I said that I had completed my contract with the other company and the work got extended.  When the new opportunity arose I talked with the PM and told him of the situation and he had no issues with me leaving.  So yes I did leave and yes it was a contract signed by both myself and the company.  Is there any other issues which you are to ignorant to understand?  I asked a question for some reasonable response thank you.

chuckdhuff

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #6 on: Dec 18, 2013, 03:44 »
The laws of the state in which you are/were working may come into play. Does the state have an "at will" employment law?

Does the signed document you have specifically state that it is a contract or does it say it is a formal offer of employment?

Does it have wording in it to this effect:

 Your employment with our company is “at will,” which means that either you or the company may terminate the relationship at any time. 

If you answered yes to any of these you probably don't have a leg to stand on. As stated earlier, it would be best to get a free consultation from a reputable attorney. My belief is that the cost of battle will be greater than the spoils of winning the war. [2cents]

Offline scotoma

Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #7 on: Dec 19, 2013, 11:28 »
Did you read my post.  I said that I had completed my contract with the other company and the work got extended.  When the new opportunity arose I talked with the PM and told him of the situation and he had no issues with me leaving.  So yes I did leave and yes it was a contract signed by both myself and the company.  Is there any other issues which you are to ignorant to understand?  I asked a question for some reasonable response thank you.

Without actually seeing the contract, yes we are all ignorant, but not "to ignorant". A lot of contracts have the mumbo-jumbo language and a list of disclaimers. There could be some in your document that has been presented to you as a "contract". You have the option of having a lawyer look at it (some will give you a free consultation) an he willl be able to tell you in a couple minutes if you have a case. Or you can just chalk this up to experience and move on.
« Last Edit: Dec 19, 2013, 11:35 by Marlin »

Offline mars88

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #8 on: Dec 19, 2013, 03:15 »
I was in a somewhat similar situation in 2007.  The new contract company kept delaying my start date after I arrived in town, then after two months said there was no work for me.  I had an offer letter with a specific start date, and although there was no end date, multiple phone conversations had indicated at least 6 months work.

I retained a lawyer on contingency who specialized in employee situations.  He wrote a letter to their corporate attorney, who actually agreed that I got screwed.

Two weeks later, the company offered me two months back per diem (I had stayed in town while they strung me along), plus 4 months work at a different location, which I accepted.  Everything worked out fine with the company after that.

My lawyer said it was so easy, he only took 25% instead of the 35% he was entitled to take.

Bottom line--it can't hurt to see a specialist in this arena.

Offline mars88

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #9 on: Dec 19, 2013, 03:20 »
note:  my previous post should read "back pay and per diem".

Content1

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #10 on: Dec 21, 2013, 04:12 »
Actually, you were wise to get an attorney and he seemed to do you good.  The company could have been sued but you stated you were 30 years in the business.  Unless your new job paid really well you may have been expected to take similar work for the balance of the contract, an employee whose contract was breached was still expected to mitigate the damages during the time past 4 month to the balance of the contract year.

I once was arbitrarily laid off I with 4 other workers over 50 at West Valley, NY in 2005.  They immediately hired workers to replace us in their 20's after they told us we were laid off due to lack of work.  The age discrimination seemed pretty clear, but when I mitigated I obtained a job paying 30% more with per diem of $205 per day.  I ended up earning 50% more in the time I was laid off then if I had stayed, so it was hard to argue "harm" to me.

Offline pjtesqpe

Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #11 on: Dec 21, 2013, 08:25 »
If you read the contract you probably can realize that there are words to the effect that the party is employed "at will"; this means with proper notice as stipulated in the agreement either party can terminate before the term of the contract is complete.

Patrick Tracy

Offline Marlin

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #12 on: Dec 21, 2013, 11:51 »
   Go back and look at the at the contract/offer letter again did they say they had a one year contract or you had a one year contract? Did you sign a contract or an offer letter, or a contingent offer letter? It is rare that a contract company gives you a contract if that is what you signed.

  Offer letters differ from employment contracts in a number of ways, although by their very natures they can cause confusion. While an offer letter is usually used as a tool to communicate to the employee the terms of their salary, benefits and responsibilities, an employment contract is a binding agreement between the employer and employee. Many employers are reluctant to give employment contracts because of the worry that they will negate the "at will" nature of the employment. Offer letters are typically drafted to avoid this issue.


Offer Letters & Employment Contracts

In today’s economy, most people are so happy when they get a job they sometimes overlook the paperwork they’re signing and don’t actually read the fine print. You may think you’re signing a contract, but really you’re accepting a job with a specific title, job description and salary. When is a contract versus an offer letter used? Read on to find out more to find out what the differences are.

It’s fairly common – particularly in "white collar" jobs and for more highly compensated positions – for potential employers to provide job candidates with an offer letter when offering them a job. This letter typically includes some basic information about the position, such as:
•Company name
•Job title
•Starting date
•Salary, pay schedule and whether the position is exempt or non-exempt
•Specific benefits, particularly if you’ve negotiated benefits that deviate from the company’s typical offering

Depending on whether lawyers were involved, the letter may also contain some "legalese." It might include disclaimers that the job and terms spelled out are subject to change when the company decides they want changes. It might say that final employment is subject to certain background checks or other conditions being met. And it may mention at-will employment.

Finally, the letter often includes a deadline by which the potential employee has to accept the offer, and a line for your signature indicating your acceptance of the job.

Because these letters appear very official – or, let’s just say it, legal – in nature, they often lead to confusion because people mistake them with employment contracts. That serious tone is somewhat deliberate. After all, the company wants the prospect to commit to the position. The more official-looking and sounding the letter, the more seriously the job prospect will take it. In other words, the company wants to reduce the risk that a candidate will sign the letter then back out of the job at the last minute.

At-Will Employment & Employment Contracts

Most employees are hired "at will." This means they can be fired without just cause and can quit at any time.

However, companies will use employment contracts for some employees, particularly top management, as well as sales reps and independent contractors. An employment contract typically contains information discussing:
•Compensation and severance pay (if any)
•Length of the contract, if it’s for a specific time
•A term that the employment is at-will if it’s not for a specific time.
•If the contract isn’t on an at-will basis, any specific grounds for termination.
•A non-disclosure clause preventing the employee from giving away trade secrets or using confidential data like customer lists for a competitor’s benefit.
•A non-compete clause preventing the employee from working for a competitor after leaving the company.
•A detailed description of any stock options or other ownership interests the employee receives.
•What happens when the contractor leaves the company.
•An arbitration provision in the event of future disputes between employee and employer.
•A list of the job’s duties.

Is It an Offer Letter or an Employment Contract?

Some of the most commonly asked questions on the Lawyers.com legal forums relate to offer letters and employment contracts.

It’s important to realize that the vast majority of offer letters are not employment contracts. That means your employer is free to terminate your job at any time – including before you officially start the job. In most cases, you’ll be owed no compensation for any time other than the actual time you worked. But it also means you are free to walk away from the job at any time.

Employment contracts are relatively uncommon. If you weren’t a top corporate executive or an independent contractor or in a commission-based sales position, you probably don’t have a legally enforceable employment contract.

If you are at all uncertain about whether you have an employment contract or an offer letter, talk to an employment lawyer. Ideally, you should have this conversation before signing any legal documents.


http://blogs.lawyers.com/2011/06/offer-letters-employment-contracts/

SCMasterchef

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #13 on: Dec 23, 2013, 07:39 »
Thanks Marlin.  I will be contacting an employment lawyer shortly.  Like I said in the beginning I have been contracting for many years in professional positions and have in 99% of the time worked in an "at will" situation.  This situation is uniquely different in that the start and end date were specifically identified, including accrued paid time off and accrued holidays.  Which usually applies only when the contract duration is actually long enough for an individual to accrue the time to be paid the time off.  They were also offering a 401K package, which again generally only applies only when the duration is sufficiently long enough for one to invest in the 401K option.  There are a lot of issues in the documentation and no where was at-will mentioned.

Offline Marlin

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Re: Breach of Contract
« Reply #14 on: Dec 23, 2013, 12:22 »
Thanks Marlin.  I will be contacting an employment lawyer shortly.  Like I said in the beginning I have been contracting for many years in professional positions and have in 99% of the time worked in an "at will" situation.  This situation is uniquely different in that the start and end date were specifically identified, including accrued paid time off and accrued holidays.  Which usually applies only when the contract duration is actually long enough for an individual to accrue the time to be paid the time off.  They were also offering a 401K package, which again generally only applies only when the duration is sufficiently long enough for one to invest in the 401K option.  There are a lot of issues in the documentation and no where was at-will mentioned.

A lawyer would be best.  ;)

 


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