Did the employer void the contract?

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Did the employer void the contract?

My fiance has been employed as a stress technician at a small clinic for about 6 months. His contract states that he is an hourly employee and that the position is full-time. It also states that he will remain hourly until an agreement is made for him to become salary, although there’s no specific time in which he is to become salaried. At first we were pleased with the contract, however it has not been completely upheld. For the first 3 months he worked an average of 3 days a week, a total of 24 hours. Then, for the next month, he was verbally promised that they would finally give him full-time hours. That never happened. Finally, for the last 3 months, he has been told that because they have very little patients during this time of year, his hours have been reduced to something below 24 hours a week. I am aware that in the state where we reside full-time is considered 37.5 or 40 hours but according to the Department of Insurance it is 30 hours. He has brought this up to the his superiors countless times. If his contract says he is a full time/hourly employee did they void his contact? If so, what steps do you recommend that might mitigate this situation?

Asked on October 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The contract will control whether or not the agreement has been upheld and what the penalty for any violation of the contract will be.
Without actually having the contract, I cannot tell you if it's void or not.  If the contract says that your fiance would be guaranteed a certain number of hours and they have not fulfilled that obligation, then he could invoke any provisions of his employment contract regarding the breach of that agreement.  His remedy could be the right to terminate the agreement and work for a competitor, it could be payment for being on call, or it could include some type of supplment.  I'm not trying to be vague... but without more details on the document, these are just some of the potential remedies.
With regard to his status as overtime versus part-time.  Different agencies have different definitions for different purposes.  The 30 hour rules is specific to the issue of "who is eligible to apply for insurance coverage through an employer."  The 37.5 rule is specific to Texas employment laws.  So... if insurance is available and your fiances is consistently working over 30 hours per week, then the employer could be required to offer him coverage, even if his official status with the company is that of a part-time employee.
If your boyfriend thinks that he has been denied payments that are due for his wages, then he needs to file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission.  From what you describe, I think the contract is subject to being cancelled or enforced... but it doesn't sound like it's a void agreement.  Void agreement are those which are invalid from the very beginning.  To be sure, have an attorney or someone with the Texas Workforce Commission review the agreement to what options are specifically available to your fiance.


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