Can I claim indemnity or damages if my employer terminates my contract without a written notice and prior the contracts end date?

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Can I claim indemnity or damages if my employer terminates my contract without a written notice and prior the contracts end date?

I am an American expat currently work for an American non-profit, operating in

Guinea, West Africa. My contract expired on 06/30, however my employer decided to extend the contract until 10/01. This contract was signed by my employer and myself in July. Then on 08/14, without a written notice. my employer decided to terminate my contract on the spot, claiming that my work was unsatisfactory. She then gave me a list of deliverables to complete by a specific timeline, threatening to not pay my salary and fringe benefits if the documents are not complete. Is this legal? Can I sue my employer for not adhering to the term of the contract and ask for pay throughout my contracts normal end date? Furthermore, according to my first contract that ended on 06/30, my employer owes me fringe benefits in the form of a housing allowance, which according to my contract, was supposed to be paid monthly in the amount of $300 but was never paid. This clause is also in the new contract that they decided to terminate, this makes it 7 months that my housing allowance has not been paid and September would make it a total of 8 months, totaling $2,400 in unpaid housing allowance. What legal procedure can I take to make sure that my funds are paid?

Asked on August 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Under U.S. law, contracts, including employment contracts, are enforceable as per their plain terms, so if terminated early without some valid reason (e.g. due to your own breach of your obligations), you'd be entitled to pay for the rest of the contract term; and if you did not receive all allowances, benefits, etc. due you under the contract, you could sue for that, too.
If the non-profit has a U.S. location, you could sue them in the U.S. in the state and county where they are located.
However, if the non-profit is only located in Guinea and you worked there for them, no U.S. court would have jurisdiction, or power, over this situation: it's not enough that you are an American ex-pat to convey jurisdication. Rather, to have power, either the entity to be sued must be in the U.S. or the contractual violation must have occured in the U.S. Otherwise, you'd pesumably have to sue in a court in Guinea, West Africa, and we cannot offer an opinion as to the law or court procedures there.


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