What are my rights if a previous agreement on a tuition discount has suddenly been discontinued?

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What are my rights if a previous agreement on a tuition discount has suddenly been discontinued?

My son attends a private school where I happen to work. The year before last, the school offered me the parishioner rate in writing as a sort of employee rate. It had no end date and there were no specifications other than they were offering me that rate and the finance director quoted me an amount. I paid it in full immediately. The same thing for last year. For this school year I received an invoice for the full amount the finance director and former principal quit with no information passed on to the new employees taking their place. The people in the finance office tell me that the email was not a binding contract and they can’t help me, especially since I’m not Catholic. As I’m an employee and not a parishioner, I understand their position. However, I have taken a new position with the school that pays less than what I formerly made on the assumption that I would continue to receive this rate. I even stated this as a reason for changing positions. I also applied for financial assistance with the school several months ago, since even working with the school I don’t make much money and I’m now part-time, non-salary. Today, the finance office told me the grant program had already made all their awards and they didn’t have my completed forms until last week although these forms were all accepted when submitted. I’m really at a loss of what to do. It’s a week before school starts and I can’t afford the full tuition, especially making a lower rate of income. Regardless of payment plans available, this is not what I agreed to. The woman in the office tells me none of what I previously agreed to was binding and I need to pay the full rate if I want my son to continue there. What are my options?

Asked on August 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had an actual written contract which stated that you would continue to get the discount so long as you worked there, they can take it away or change how they handle employees and tuition. Only a contract guarantees you something; without a contract, they voluntarily offered a discount to you and therefore can voluntary take it away. Your expetions or assumption do not matter; you cannot bind them by your belief as to what will or should happen.


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