What constitutes breach of an employment contract?

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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What constitutes breach of an employment contract?

I work or worked for a medical dialysis care unit company. I came out of state to accept the position based on the proposed offer and I accepted it by email and signed the hard copy. First paycheck came it was 50% below the original offer. I confronted my manager and she denied it and created another offer sheet which was different from what I’ve signed and accused me of not signing it. She would not honor my offer. I have to take a 5 week training course and in order for me to keep my employment, I have to pass the exam with an 85 but it did not state that in the employee handbook.

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Probably having to take the training course and/or pass a test is NOT a breach of the offer letter, unless the letter specifically stated there was no required testing, etc. Employers may make essentially any changes to the terms of employment not specifically precluded by a contract.

On the other hand, assuming you could prove the original offer, you would probably have grounds to sue for the balance of the salary; not only might you have grounds based in breach of contract, but if you relied on the offer to your detriment (e.g. moving), your reliance was reasonable, and the company knew or should have known you'd rely, then they may be estopped, or prevented, from disavowing their promises. From what you write, it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an employment attorney, assuming again, that you have some documentation or evidence. Good luck.

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