Can I hold my employer liable for contracting an outside firm that is in direct competition with me that has hired a relative of the employer?

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Can I hold my employer liable for contracting an outside firm that is in direct competition with me that has hired a relative of the employer?

Okay – let me explain. I was hired two months ago to solely
handle a company’s PR/marketing. Stipulations in my offer
letter was that I receive a bonus dependent on if I can take
over some of the responsibilities that an outside PR firm
had been contracted to do. After one month of being there,
the firm – after much coaxing from the company’s CEO –
hired a close family member of the CEO. Since then, things
have been difficult and the CEO is most definitely trying to
hire the PR firm to take over all of my work and oust me.
Also, there are communications happening that directly
effect my job that I am not privy to between the CEO and
this family member. This seems to be a major conflict of
interest on the part of the CEO who is my direct boss.
What are my legal options in this situation?

Asked on May 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

While you have an offer letter you don't appear to have an employment contract (or even union agreement) which might afford you protection in this case. Without that, as an "at will" worker, your companyy can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. this includes changing an employee's wages and out soucing certain, work, etc. Further, nepotism in the workplace is legal; not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you have no recourse, unfortunately: a company is free to change an employee's duties, to out-source employee functions, etc.--they are not bound to always do things the same way just to give you the chance to earn a bonus. And nepotism is also legal, of course--just look at our current President and his family, for example. What you describe may be unfair, but it is legal, and you cannot sue over it.


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