My wife got hired by a company as a manager-in-training and signed an agreement that she would be placed in the next available manger position. She has now been turned down twice for new positions.

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My wife got hired by a company as a manager-in-training and signed an agreement that she would be placed in the next available manger position. She has now been turned down twice for new positions.

My wife got hired by a company as a manager-in-training and signed an agreement that she would be placed in the next available manager position. She has now been turned down twice for new positions. The District Manager who has passed her over has stated that she is not meeting company-set sales metrics, however, my wife has documented proof that the times that she has been temporarily placed in management positions, the metrics and store ratings within the company have risen dramatically. Can anything be done about the District Manager breaching the written agreement, or passing her over for promotion without cause?

Asked on August 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the signed agreement most likely does not constitute an enforceable contract. To be a contract, there must be "consideration" or someting of value going from each party to the other. If your wife did not give up or do or provide something of value other than simply working, she did not provide consideration and the "agreement' is not a binding contract. (The reason simply working is not consideration in this case is that she is [presumably] paid for working; i.e. she is already getting something of value, her wage or salary, in exchange for working, and so she needs to do or provide something else to be consideration for the promise of a promotion). 
As stated, without consideration, this would not be an enforceable contract; and if it's not an enforceable contract, then the employer may freely decide whether, when, whom, etc to promote, and is not obligated to put someone in a management position. 
Only if she did something beyond just doing her job might this be an enforceable agreement--for example, if she gave up another, in some ways better, job opportunity in exchange for the promise of becoming management. If that is the case, she may be able to enforce the agreement; if you and she think that is the case, you should consult in detail with an employment law attorney about the situation, bringing a copy of the agreement with you.


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