What can I do if my employer now says that they gave me the wrong contract to sign?

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What can I do if my employer now says that they gave me the wrong contract to sign?

I was hired by a company and was told the position is for an assistant manager for the tax preparation season beginning January 4th through April 15th of the current year. I was given a printed contract stating that I was a salary employee and my compensation was at the rate of $575 per week, before taxes were taken out. Upon receiving most most recent paycheck; I noted that I was being paid an hourly rate of $9.00 per hour. I spoke to the franchise owner and was told today that was an “incorrect contract”. That my pay rate was $9.00 per hour and that as he had not yet signed that contract stating that I was salary it was invalid as were the bonus figures listed in it as well.

Asked on January 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to enforce the contract. A contract is formed when one party makes an offer to another party, and the second party accepts it. A mutually signed contract (signed by both parties) is, of course, excellent proof of the existence and terms of a contract but is not always necessary if there is other evidence from which to conclude that a contract was formed. In particular, one party not only makes an offer to the other party, but also provides them a complete, detailed contract to sign (i.e. one that fills in all the details, because for a contract to be formed, there must be sufficient detail that the parties, and a court, would know what the respective rights, obligation, and compensation is), the act of the second party signing, and thereby accepting, the prepared contract offered the first party can be enought to create a binding contract; the first party's signature of their own contract can, in that case, be essentially a formality unless the contract itself, by its plain terms, states that it ony takes effect upon execution by both parties.
Therefore, in this case, you may have an enforceable contract. Is it worth taking legal action? The contract would pay you $575/week for approximately 13 weeks. The amount they propose to pay you is (depending on the hours you work; I will base the example on 35 hours/week) for, say, $315/week, or $260/week less, or around $3,400 less (gross pay; not adjusting for taxes). For that amount, it may well be worthwhile to file a small claims, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") to seek the additional compensation.


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