Recently, I have been receiving inquiries from practitioners with respect to their executed employment agreements. Various concerns have come up relating to their employer wanting to change or alter the terms in the original employment contract, and they are unclear of the best way to professionally and carefully handle the situation.
As important as it is to understand the terms before you sign the contract, it is also just as important to continue to keep the contract readily available so that you can ensure the employer is acting in accordance with the contract during the term of your employment.
As you start to grow in the position, the employer may want to change certain aspects of the agreement. They might want to change your role, responsibility, hours or location. Perhaps they want a percentage of outside income that you are receiving for teaching or consulting services, now that you have been working for a number of years and have built up a great reputation. These are just some examples, but the changes could be anything that alters the terms of the original contract.
You should consider what is in your best interest and make sure that the employer does not change the terms of the contract without a written amendment. You do not want to be caught in the following situations:
- You have more responsibility than originally contracted for or you are providing more work, but are still receiving the same amount of money.
- The employer changed the terms of your employment without giving you any other benefits.
- The employer is forcing you to do something that you do not want to do, but you do it reluctantly because you are unsure how to get out of the contract.
Generally, every written contract contains a clause that states any modifications or changes must be mutually agreed upon and in writing. However, employers may not want to go back to their attorneys to actually make these changes, as they do not want to pay the extra legal bills. As a result, the employers will try to modify the contract on their own.
Should you find yourself in this situation, it is important to know your rights and what is necessary by referring to the original contract. If you agree with the potential changes, ask an attorney to provide an amendment or a modification to the contract, so that both parties can agree to it and move forward.
However, if you do not want to accept the changes, it will be imperative for you to understand what happens or how you can get out of the contract without being in breach. Generally, employment agreements have a termination clause stating that you can resign or the employer can terminate you for any reason, or for no reason at all, as long as the proper notice is provided in writing.
In this situation, it may be best to work with an attorney who can assist you in ensuring that you will not be in breach of the contract.
No matter what the circumstance may be, it is important to always have your executed contract available to know your rights and responsibilities pursuant to the contract. You need to protect yourself and your career.
Contact me today with questions or comments.
Stephanie J. Rodin, Esq.
Rodin Legal, P.C.
Tel: (917) 345-8972
Fax: (917) 591-4428