What are my rights if my employer offered a 1 year assignment with a relocation package but changed the terms at the last minute and my package was reduced?

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What are my rights if my employer offered a 1 year assignment with a relocation package but changed the terms at the last minute and my package was reduced?

After I committed to a lease, withdrawing my kids from school and incurring moving expenses, the employer made a late change to the terms decreasing the period to 6 months. They have paid some assignment housing allowances but have not agreed to modify the terms out to a full year. I will soon be required to remove my children from school mid-term and relocate back to my home location if my employer does not extend my terms. In this instance I believe they are in breach of contract. I am a resident of one state, my payroll and HR is in another state and I’m on assignment in Canada. In which jurisdiction should I pursue a resolution?

Asked on January 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If there was an actual written contract with a one year term, you can enforce it.
In the absence of a written ontract, you still may have enforeable rights under the theory of "promissory estoppel." Usually, a non-contractual promise is not enforceable. But an exception exists when party A makes a promise to party B to get B to do something; in order to do that thing, B, would have to do something to its detriment (like relocate); at the time they made the promise, A knew that B would have to do that thing to its detriment; despite knowing that, A made the promise; and under the circumstances, it was reasonable for B to, at that time, rely on the promise and in fact ot the thing to its detriment. When all those criteria are met, then B may be able to enforce the promise (or get compensation for its breach) in court--i.e. by filing a lawsuit. d on what you write, you appear to have a potential case for promissory estoppel.


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