What can I do about being hired for one position but then being made to work another?

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What can I do about being hired for one position but then being made to work another?

I interviewed and accepted a job to be a project coordinator. Once I got to the job, however, I found that there wasn’t enough work for me so the scope of my job would change slightly. I went from doing junior project management work to being the receptionist. I still have the signed offer letter and job description.

Asked on August 24, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The offer letter and the job description *may* create an enforceable employment contract. The problem for you would be that unless there is some duration indicated to the job--e.g. the letter indicated you'd have the job for at least one year--then the employer probably can reassign you; the employer complied with the offer letter by giving you a job, but in the absence of a contract guarantying that job for a defined period, an employer has tremendous discretion in changing titles, duties, etc.

If you are now being paid less than was indicated in the offer letter--if the offer letter contained a salary--you may at least be able to enforce the pay provision of the offer letter (though you'd have to bring a lawsuit to do so).

Or if you left an existing job to take the junior project manager job, and the employer knew you would or were likely to leave an existing job to take the position, in that case, the fact that you changed your position by giving up something of value in reliance on the representation that you would be  junior project manager may create an enforceable obligation on the part of the company that they employ you in that capacity---though if you were not employed at the time, that would not apply. (And again, you'd need to sue to try to enforce this.)

You may wish to consult with an employment attorney (bring the letter and job description) to evaluate your rights and options.


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