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  1. #1
    andan61172 is offline Junior Member
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    Sign on Bonus/Employment Letter

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? West Virginia

    I have a strange question or set of questions. I accepted a position in October 2010 with a rehabilitation services provider. I was offered a sign-on bonus and was given a written offer letter. In the written offer letter it states that the "position in non-exemp standard 40 hour per week position". I know this means if I work over 40 hours, they are required to pay me overtime, etc. In my sign-on bonus agreement it states that by accepting the sign-on bonus, "I am reconfirming my agreement to the terms outlined in my employement offer letter". The company is now cutting hours from the 40 hours when I was hired, to in February, 2011, only allowing 35 hours per week, and have at times cut hours beneath that due to Patient care hours being lower. I have been offered a position with another health care providor at the same pay with a definite 40 hours per week, and when I spoke with my current employer about it, she told me I would have to pay back the sign-on bonus as I have not been employed for the two years agreed to.
    My question is, since the sign-on bonus agreement (although not being an employment contract) refers back to the offer letter that states 40 hours per week, since they have cut hours, would they not have breeched the agreement themselves, basically nullifying the sign-on bonus agreement?

    I have considered checking with an Attorney, but really can't afford to pay the attorney's fees.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
  2. #2
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Whether you are or are not entitled to overtime when you work over 40 hours a week is determined by Federal law, not by agreement. I do not see that your agreement guarantees you 40 hours a week; only that 40 hours is their standard. (As opposed to my employer, whose standard is 35 hours, or my last employer, whose standard was 37.5.)

    Therefore, no, I do not think that they have either breached the agreement or nullified the sign on bonus agreement.)
    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  3. #3
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    My take on it is that they are free to adjust your hours.

    You should consult with an attorney - would be worth the $100-$200.
  4. #4
    andan61172 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    Since I really can't afford to have my hours cut, I will have to find a way to pay back the sign-on bonus. I just think its wrong that it states in the agreement that I must maintain "active, full-time employment of (CO INITIALS) in good standing" or if I chose to fall below that I must repay the sign-on bonus, and now, after being told up front that the position was 40 hours per week (verbally in my interview and what I thought was stateing the same in my employment offer), the company can cut my hours costing me 600 per month (which is a big blow to anyone's budget) and still uphold the sign-on agreement.

    Thanks for the input.
  5. #5
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Here's where your problem is.

    You are interpreting the letter in a way it was not intended to be read. I've written dozens of these letters. There was NO intent for it to be telling you that you were guaranteed to receive 40 hours a week, every week, forever. You inferred that, but it is not what the letter said or what it meant.
    Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.
  6. #6
    andan61172 is offline Junior Member
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    I completely understand what you are saying.

    I am having dinner with the other 5 people that are in the same situation I am right now (we all work for the same company just different locations). I will tell them the next step is either pay back the sign-on or they can contact attorneys if they choose.

    Thanks again for the input.
  7. #7
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    What makes you think this new job would be a "definite" 40 hour week any more then when you took the job you have now?
  8. #8
    andan61172 is offline Junior Member
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    They require minimum and maximum hours per week and any changes must be pre-approved. It states in the offer letter that you will be asked to work a minimum of 38 hours per week, and no more than 48 hours in one pay week. The offer letter is extremely detailed, even outlining blackout periods for vacations, etc.
  9. #9
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andan61172 View Post
    They require minimum and maximum hours per week and any changes must be pre-approved. It states in the offer letter that you will be asked to work a minimum of 38 hours per week, and no more than 48 hours in one pay week. The offer letter is extremely detailed, even outlining blackout periods for vacations, etc.
    Yes - they require that of YOU. It speaks nothing of THEIR commitment.
  10. #10
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andan61172 View Post
    It states in the offer letter that you will be asked to work a minimum of 38 hours per week, and no more than 48 hours in one pay week.
    That is not binding on the employer. They could change your schedule on your first day and you could either work it, not work it and risk being fired, or quit. There is nothing you could do to force them to give you X number of hours per week.

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