Can I sue my employer for being put on an unfair probational contract?

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Can I sue my employer for being put on an unfair probational contract?

I was put on an probational contract after working for my employer for 4 years. I have never been reprimanded or have any negative evaluations. I believe that the contract is unjust unfair and unwarranted but because I thought I would lose my job I signed it. I want it reversed and taken off of my employment record. Is that possible?

Asked on November 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Fairness is irrelevant in the workplace--your employer is under no obligation to be fair. An employer may change the terms and conditions of your work at will, so long as--

a) It doesn't violate any existing contracts;

b) It is not discriminating on the basis of race, religion, sex, age over 40, disability, etc.

c) There is no retaliation for having used a protected benefit, like FMLA leave, or having filed or raised a protected claim, such as that there was discrimination.

2) A veteran employee may be put on a probationary contract.

3) If you signed the contract, you will be held to it--the employer may voluntarily release you from it, but as a general matter, mentally competent adults may not escape from contracts they voluntarily signed--and in this context, signing because you feared for your job is still "voluntary," because you have the option of not signing and seeking other employment. (It may not be a good choice, but it is a choice available to you.)


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