If my company breached my employment contract, do I have sufficient cause to try and reclaim unpaid allowances?

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If my company breached my employment contract, do I have sufficient cause to try and reclaim unpaid allowances?

I work abroad for a DC-based hotel company. My employment contract provided for a $2000 monthly housing allowance (the amount was stated in currency of the country I reside). In 04/09, the company informed all expats that the hotel could not afford to pay rents and forced us into the hotel or pay for our own rents. I have not received any allowance since then. I reminded my current GM that my contract stated “allowance” not “accommodations,” and he said “it is the same thing.” But allowance is cash, not a room. Do I have a case?

Asked on November 12, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your case and your analysis seem interesting and well thought out.  But I would hesitate to say "yes" or "no" here without reading the contract in full.  The questions that I have deal with execution of the allowance as well as interpretation of the word under the law.  And there are other laws that I would consider here such as tax laws that might give us some insight in to the entire matter.  I would take your contract to an employment attorney to review (if you are oversees I might scan it in to a computer and contact a DC area attorney to review for you).  Besides this issue is the issue of their unilaterally changing the contract already signed by changing the negotiated terms.  Good luck.


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