What canI do if my work contract has been breached?

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What canI do if my work contract has been breached?

I WAS HIRED BUY A LARGE COMPANY RECRUITER WITH HEAD QUARTERS IN TX FOR A VA WORKPLACE. I WAS GIVEN IN WRITING AN E-MAIL OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE AND TOLD VERBALLY I WOULD WORK A MINIMUM OF 20-24 HOURS PER WEEK. I HAVE WORKED A TOTAL OF 11 HOURS SINCE DATE OF HIRE, 06/18, AND I AM NOT ON THE SCHEDULE THROUGH 08/04. WHAT STATE OR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PREVAILS AND WHAT DO I DO? I ALSO HAVE 3 VOICEMAILS OF FURTHER PROOF.

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general  matter, contracts or agreements, including verbal ones, are enforceable. However, open-ended verbal employment agreements are not always enforceable because of a concept called the statute of frauds: it requires contracts requiring more than one year--such as an open-ended employment agreement, which could go on indefinitely--to be in writing. Even if you got over that hurdle, proving an oral contract can  be difficult, though you state you have voicemails establishing it. However, yet another problem is this: you would be suing for contractual damages, which is the difference between what you should have worked and what you did work. Say that  you should have worked around 80 hours since 6/18, but have instead only worked 11. That means you could sue for 69 hours of work. If you are earning, say, $10 an hour, that's $690, which is not worth the cost of a lawsuit.

You should try to consult with an employment attorney--many will provide a free initial consultation--to evaluate the strength of your case and what you could sue for; you need to have an attorney provide legal advice based on all the details of your situation for a more dispositive answer. However, you should be prepared that this may not be a situation where you have rights that you can effectively enforce.


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