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Is employment truly "at will" when you agree to work a certain amount of months? Also is it illegal to not pay overtime?

Austin, TX |

Hypo with specifics changed:
Deal Memo says Employment "At Will" from 1/1/12 until 7/1/12, paid hourly with overtime at 1.5. Payment is hourly. No benefits. 6/1/2012 employer sends e-mail offering continued employment until 1/1/13 and requests confirmation. Employee accepts agreement via e-mail. Original deal memo says modification only in signed writing. Employee continues working without any write ups or disciplinary action. Employees work unpaid overtime on weekends, but lunch (meaning the food only) is paid for by employer. 10/12 Employee receives telephone call that the job is being terminated because there is 'no more work.' Only two employees are terminated "at will" under this condition, both are senior citizens. What recourse do they have? Interested in finding atty.

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Attorney answers 2


In CA at least all employment contracts are at will unless stated otherwise. It sounds like you might have an argument based on the above that your employment was not "at will". You should try to find out if someone else was hired to replace the senior citizens that were fired. That might provide you with enough to find a lawyer to take your case.

good luck.

Mr. Delshad is licensed to practice law only in California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney. Jonathan J. Delshad


In Connecticut and New York, most employment is considered to be at the discretion of the Employer unless there is a written contract stating otherwise. There are also a number of exceptions to the at will doctrine in most states. If a persons civil rights are being violated [i.e. title IIV where someone might be discriminated on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, etc.,.] in the context of employment, then there may be certain remedies he/she may have. It is in your best interest to seek the advice of a local labor/employment attorney, based on what you have stated. I recommend that you consider to find such an attorney. Good Luck!

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