Employer suddenly decided to change our working hours without any prior discussion with us. How screwed are we?

We are on a 2-year contract and we’ve already completed 1 year - we are supposed to become permanent next year.

The contract we signed was for working hours from 9pm-5pm. Today it was abruptly announced that as from Jan next year, this will change to 11am-7pm. We’ve been clearly told that those who are unhappy are free to give their resignation.

We want to seek legal help for breach of contract but there are 2 Termination Clauses in our contract which are sort of keeping us off. They are as follows:

1. The agreement may be terminated by either party giving 30 days written notice of such termination on or before the 1st day of the month.

2. It is specifically recorded that notwithstanding 1. above, this agreement may be terminated at any stage for misconduct, incapacity, poor performance or the operational requirements of the company or for any reason justified in law.

Update:

P.S: We asked for a new contract with revised pay but have been told that no increase in pay is possible before the end of the contract

12 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    In an answer, you are in a big pickle. You cannot do anything about this, as "the agreement may be terminated by either party giving 30 days written notice of such termination on or before the 1st day of the month." There was nothing wrong with doing this, but it is not right either. If I were you, I would try and find a better job at another place, maybe with your coworkers, and just get fired and move on.

  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    The language is clear - 30 days written notice to terminate on or before the 1st of the month.

    BUT HERE'S AN "ANGLE" - the ONLY way to modify/change a WRITTEN contract is with another WRITTEN contract.  Your employer has broken contract IF he/she has changed the work hours which are specific to the contract.

    The problem is the termination language. Yes, you could take legal action based on the broken contract, but your employer than has the option of terminating you according to the terms of the contract.

    An attorney who specialized in contract law MIGHT be able to claim that the breach by your employer makes the contract invalid.  That would make the entire contract invalid - and you could be terminated without the 30 days notice.

  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    With all due respect what do you not or how can you not understand this

    1. The agreement may be terminated by either party giving 30 days written notice of such termination on or before the 1st day of the month.

  • 2 weeks ago

    The answer is, yes, they can fire you.

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  • 2 weeks ago

    There is no breach of contract by the employer. You have more than the 30 days notice required by the contract. The employer can change your hours at any time under the "operational requirements" clause in the contract. 

    Do you mean your original hours were 9 AM to 5 pm - is that a typo? They apparently are not cutting your hours or pay. Sure, you can pay an attorney to review the contract, but do not expect an attorney to tell you that you have any options but to accept the change in hours, a mere 2-hour difference in start/end times, or hand in your notice.

    The employer may be in some difficulty & is hoping some will quit so they can avoid a reduction in force, which could cause contract complications (unless they have grounds such as inadequate performance). If the company is having any sort of difficulty - loss of clients, declining revenues and/or profitability, etc. - be glad they are not laying you off. But renewal/extension of the contract at term's end may be in danger. IF this is the case, you don't want to count on a new contract next year.

  • 2 weeks ago

    Changing the hours worked is not against the law nor apparently disallowed by your contract. Because, however, the contract gives either party the ability to terminate it with 30 days notice what's the point? Even if you could force them to use the original work hours schedule, they can terminate the entire contract in 30 days.

  • 2 weeks ago

    There are few protections in the law for employees, unless they are in a union, and Republicans have stripped the unions of rights in most states. There's not much you can do- the clauses in the contract allow the company to change the working conditions. Vote for politicians who will put in laws to protect workers. 

  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    There is no reason to seek legal help.

    1.  The employer can terminate your contract with 30 days' notice and that's exactly what will happen if you refuse to work the new schedule; and

    2.  The employer can change your work schedule/terminate your contract based on the "operational requirements of the company". 

    Your employer determines your work schedule.   You can agree or be replaced. 

  • 2 weeks ago

    Unless your local law forbids it, an employer can change work hours at will. I'm guessing there will be lots of people leaving, so that might actually benefit those who stay. If you signed a contract, you may be held to it until it expires.

  • Kelly
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    It's likely they can do this with the 2nd clause of "operational requirements".  

    Overall, it will be depend on laws in your state and you'll need to consult a local attorney who will know those laws.

    I'm guessing this is a union contract?

    Myself, I'd work 11-7 before I'd be unemployed.

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