Many employees in California are employed at-will, where they can quit or be fired at any time. An at-will employer can only go legal when discriminated against for their protected statuses. On the other hand, employment under contract is more sophisticated and more prone to legal complications.
An employment contract binds you to the previously agreed terms unless otherwise. You can agree that situations change all the time, creating the need to make modifications. San Francisco employment attorneys can guide you if you are considering alterations in your agreement.
For What Reasons Can I Alter an Employment Contract?
The reasons for wanting to alter a contract often don’t matter as long as both parties agree to it. Some of the reasons employers and employees agree to amend the terms of a contract include:
- To change the terms of remuneration
- To add an extra scope of service delivery to the contract
- To add or reduce the number of working hours
- To shorten the working relationship and end the contract sooner
- To lengthen the working relationship and prolong the tenure
- Updates due to changes in California laws
- Change in paternity and paternity rights
- Changes in fringe benefits
- Relocation requirements for the business
Whatever the reason for altering the contract, it is critical to do it right. Small mistakes can render the contract unenforceable and frustrate you later. So, even if it sounds agreeable between you and your employer, make sure that you discuss it with your contract lawyer in San Francisco.
When is a Contract Modification Not Allowed?
An employment contract modification might not be allowed in certain instances. For example, if the contract has a clause forbidding modifications, you and your employer cannot change it.
If you go ahead and modify such a contract, the new changes will be invalid. What you could do instead would be:
- Forming a new agreement
- Canceling that provision in the contract
- Adding an amendment that specifies special circumstances for modification
A San Francisco contract lawyer can go through your employment contract and advise you on whether it is modifiable or not. After that, they can advise you on the legally acceptable way out.
Can My Employer Alter the Contract Without My Consent?
Contract modifications require both your consent and that of your employer. Therefore, any changes made without you agreeing to them are null and void. Depending on the magnitude of changes made, the court might nullify the employment contract entirely.
An employer that amends a contract without your consent has no right to enforce the amended contract terms. In some instances, you can take the employer to court for breach of the original contract and recover damages. Serious legal consequences await any party that changes the terms without the other party’s consent.
What Options Do I Have if an Employer Alters the Terms Without My Consent?
Employers who lack legal understanding of the California contract laws can alter the terms of a contract without consulting the employee. When this happens, you may get confused about what to do as an employee. Victims of unfair amendments could:
- Take the case to an employment tribunal
- Resign and blame it on constructive dismissal as a result of a fundamental breach of contract
- Treat the amendments as a breach of contract
- Refuse to work under the new terms
As long as your original contract was well constructed, you can find legal reprieve in case an employer acts contrary to what is required of them. Speak to an employment attorney in Francisco if you feel like an employer is acting unfairly.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Modify an Employment Contract in California?
Modifying a contract can be a complex process. It requires you to follow specific detailed procedures for the changes to be legally valid. This requires the knowledge and experience of a San Francisco contract lawyer.
They could assist in drafting and reviewing the new changes before you append your signature. The attorney can negotiate the changes with the new counsel to safeguard your interests. You should only approve amendments that are in your favor.
What is the Procedure for Introducing Changes to an Employment Contract?
Employers and employees alike should follow a set of procedures when introducing changes to an employment agreement.
The steps to take are quite simple, but most people overlook them and pay a hefty price. Here is what you or your employer should do:
- Put the proposed changes in writing
- Include a review date when the changes can be reconsidered
- Get the other party’s response in writing
The other party can agree or disagree with the new terms. If they agree, they can still change their mind by the review date. Before giving your response, make sure that you first ask your contract attorney in California to read through it and provide a legal opinion.
What Questions Can I Ask My Attorney Regarding Contract Modifications?
Most employment contracts use legal terms that might not have a literal English meaning. Therefore, if you encounter difficulties understanding your obligations in the proposed employment contract, it is not advisable to sign the document.
Remember to first speak to your attorney before deciding whether to agree or reject the changes. Some of the questions to ask include:
- Are there sections of the proposed changes that are biased against me?
- Are there sections of the proposed contract you suggest I should change?
- Do you have experience with contracts of this nature?
- What are the possible ramifications if we cannot amend this contract?
Once all your questions get answers, you will be more empowered to make a legally-smart decision.
Lawyers Fighting for Justice of California Employees
The uneven imbalance of power in the workplace might make employees feel like they have lesser rights in a contract modification. One can easily be intimidated into accepting unfavorable terms and changes in a contract.
The employment contract attorneys at Geonetta & Frucht, LLP can use their extensive experience to represent you in contract disputes aggressively. Call our offices today for legal excellence anywhere in San Francisco Bay area.