If my employer required me to sign a 2-year contract when hired but after one year I was “let go: due to low volume, am I entitled to a compensation?

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If my employer required me to sign a 2-year contract when hired but after one year I was “let go: due to low volume, am I entitled to a compensation?

I am a therapist who was hired by a hospital to provide therapy services. They have offered me one week of severance pay and to pay me for about 60 hours of PTO time that is accrued. I now have unexpected moving expenses and will likely not get my deposit back from my rental and no insurance. I moved to take this job and had a contract.

Asked on March 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If there is an employment contract, you need to reference its terms to see what you may be entitled to; for example, was your employment guaranteed for two years, in which case, you may have a claim up to a year of wages, or alternately, was it just that you committed to two years employment, but the employer could terminate you earlier?

2) If you were have been employed for a year, it may be that the fact that you relocated to take the job no longer has an bearing (if you relocated for a job and were terminated almost immediately, you can often, under the theory of "promissory estoppel," hold the employer liable for some of the costs you incurred in reliance on their promise; but after some, ill-defined, period of employment, you have received sufficient benefit from the move that the promise of employment is no longer enforceable--i.e. the fact that you relied on the promise in moving does not entitle you to indefinite employment).

You should bring the employment contract to an attorney to review it with you, to see what the employer may owe you under it. You should also discuss your situation (the move, the rental, etc.) with the lawyer; while, as stated above, it is doubtful that those factors themselvs give you any claim after a year, it's worth reviewing it with a lawyer as well.


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