What are my rights with temporary employment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights with temporary employment?

Started a job last week with understanding it would be for a
couple months. Then the first day he put our financial
agreement in writing and said it was for a couple of weeks
instead. After the first week of work he sent me an email
terminating my employment. Trying to find out if having a
financial agreement in writing entitles me to more than the
week’s pay?

Asked on November 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the "financial agreement" constituted an enforceable contract. If its terms were clear; if it stated a definitive length or end date for employment; if (as we assume) in indicated that you were working in exchange for compensation (so there was an exchange of "consideration" or things of value--i.e. work for pay); and if both sides indicated their agreement to it (e.g. signed it), then it would be  a contract and the employer should owe you the defined or stated amount of pay. But if it was indeterminate, especially as to duration, or contained any language that allowed earlier termination, it would not be enforceable. You need it to have guaranteed you work--and therefore pay--for a set or definited period without any "outs" the employer could take advantage of.
If you belive it did form a contract, you could sue for breach of contract for the additional money. If it was not a contract, then because all employment in this nation is "employment at will" when there is no contract, they could terminate you early at will, without owing you anything.

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