What happens if a temp angency changes your job title and description without notice?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What happens if a temp angency changes your job title and description without notice?

I have recently started working with a temp agency for a little over 3 weeks and have had an issue with the demands of the job versus the amount I’m paid. When I was hired for the position, I was told that this job only pays 12 hour because it is a simple mailroom/data entry/scanning job. It was explained that since the work is so minimal the temp agency can not afford to pay anymore. Upon my first day on-site and going through several different training the job is actually appeals casework at a health insurance company. Now I immediately realized this and notified the temp manager at the site that this is not what I was told and I cross referenced what my contract detailed the job to be, versus the various job aides I received in training. The manager told me the client changed the job details at the last minute and they were just as surprised. I have since asked them to renegotiate my contract to include my new job title/description and a pay differential, but the company is now not responding to emails or phone calls? I was very careful in documenting everything as it occurred in reference to this as I don’t want to be unprepared for anything. Isn’t this breach of contract though or fraud at least? And does it matter I’ve only been there 3 weeks still working there. I had high hopes they would adjust my pay and offer me a now contract to cover the job change as they have renegotiated their own contracts with the client.

Asked on February 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you have an actual, signed written contract about *this* job (not just working for the temp agency generally), which is for a definite duration (e.g. 6 months, one year, etc.) and not undefined in length (an undefined contract leaves your employment as "employment at will"--see below) and which delineates specifically your duties, you could potentially sue for "breach of contract" and may be entitled to compensation. 
But without a contract meeting the requirements above, you were an employee at will and your employer could change your duties at will, without having to pay you more. Or even if you had a contract, if it did not by its plain terms define exactly what you do, the employer could still change or add to your duties at will--a contract only governs those things in it, so if a contract does not cover or define your duties, they are subject to change by your employer, the way an employee at will's duties are subject to change.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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