If I am an in-home care provider, can I leave my employment and just work directly for the person whom I have been taking care of?

I have been an in-home care provider for the last 13 years. I have been an independent contractor the entire time but the company I work with wants to go to a full employment status. The issue that I have is that I have noticed a decrease in the quality of care provided by the office and, therefore, I don’t feel comfortable signing on as a full employee. My client, and his family, want to keep me on after the switch in employment status, but the owner said they signed a contract saying they could not employ me privately for a year after terminating care with them. Is this contract still binding with the reduced level of care and changes not in clients control?

Asked on November 29, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The contract between your employer and the client family is most likely still enforceable against them; for it not to be, the employer's behavior would have had to have been so egregious as to constitute a material (or important) breach of contract, which is doubtful, based on what you write. (I.e. even if you feel the level of care is reduced, if the client is still fundamentally getting the frequency and type of care contract for, this is no likely to be a material breach.) Furthermore, even if it may have been, if the employer disagrees, it will presumably take legal action to try to enforce the contract; even if the family would win, they'd have to be willing to be sued and to have to defend a lawsuit.


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