Change in consideration

I have employment agreement that has no experation though every time employee review comes around a new contract is signed.In June 2000 I signed contract that stated " As consideration for this agreement Employer is increasing rate of compensation." Now next paragraph reads " Employer and Employee agree this Agreement superseedes all prior except for prior arrangement concerning Employees compenstion and benifit program." Now it makes no sense how the consideration of signing is increase of compansation but the next paragraph rebuts that. Since then they have again change the compansation and I refused to sign agreement I was reduced in salary can they hold me to the contract that I signed for an increase in compensation? Now they send a new compensation package that states they reserve the right to change at anytime. I thought with a employment agreement tied to compensation we both need to agree.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 2, 2002 5:36 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Consideration in Employment Contracts

When it comes to interpreting contracts, one thing an attorney must have is access to the wording of the contract. Without seeing the contract involved, it would be absolutely impossible to provide an answer to your question.

In the first year of law school, students take a course in contracts. One topic getting a lot of attention is consideration. In the real world, just about anything amounts to consideration, except for a few aberrational court decisions. In the employment context, your continuation in a job would likely be considered adequate consideration.

In your query, you say the contract has no expiration date. I doubt that the employer would commit itself to a situation where you continue in employment except for cause. When an employer does not restrict itself concerning the termination of an employee, or the end date of a contract, the contract, even though written is considered an at will contract.

This is critical because an at will arrangement allows an employer to change the terms of employment in any way it pleases. In theory, what the employer is doing is firing you under the old agreement, and offering you a different job with different terms. (Unemployment may see it differently.) If you don't like the new terms, you can leave, but that is about the only thing you can do.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Nov 4, 2002 09:29 AM [EST]

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