What to do if I’ve working for a family for 14 months and about a month ago my boss reduced my hours from 80 to 60 bi-weekly?

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What to do if I’ve working for a family for 14 months and about a month ago my boss reduced my hours from 80 to 60 bi-weekly?

He wrote of my employment in a job letter at the begining of my employment and now all those terms have changed. He is not willing to pay more vacations or holidays. Is he allowed to do that? fI he fires or lays me off, do I deserve some compensation? What happens if I quit? It looks like he wants me to quit. I don’t know what to do and very desperate.

Asked on December 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the "writing" you describe would constitute an actual contract of employment with, among other things, a definite duration (e.g. for, say, 2 years) which is still in effect, or if it was a contract of employment which, by its very terms, required a certain amount of notice to terminate the employment or change its terms, or under which you could only be fired for certain reasons, which have not occured, you could enforce its terms if to your advantage, including in court if necessary.

However, if the writing would not constitute an employment contract--which includes if it does not guaranty your employment for a definite period of time, which period has not yet expired, or require some length of notice to terminate or change employment, or limit termination to certain specified causes--then you are an employee at will. If you are an employee at will, you may be fired at any time, for any reason, or have the terms of your employment (e.g. the hours) changed at any time for any reason.

Not all writings create an employment contract: to create one, it must, as discusssed above, limit or restrict the employer's ability to terminate or change your employment in some way.


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