What is my right if I’ve been forced with termination if I don’t agree chang my employment contract?

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What is my right if I’ve been forced with termination if I don’t agree chang my employment contract?

I have a 2 year contract with my hospital employer as nurse practitioner. I have been threatened with termination if I do not agree to change my contract whereby I will loose income and PTO hours. The email states,

Asked on October 20, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Did your contract prevent them from terminating you? Did it guaranty your employment for a fixed period of time (e.g. 2 years) which was not yet expired? If so, then you were likely forced to sign under duress and can therefore void the change you signed: a contract signed under duress is not enforceable, and it is duress if you are threatened with an illegal act (e.g. termination when your job is protected by the terms of a contract). However, if they could have terminated you (i.e. your contract did not prevent termination under these circumstances or at this time), then this was not duress in a legal sense--it is not an illegal act or illegal duress for someone to threaten to do something they are allowed to do anyway. Without contractual protection, you could be terminated at any time ("employment at will" is the law of this country except to the extent changed by a written contract). Since they could terminate you in this second case if you did not accept the change, you were confronted with a legitimate choice--accept the change or leave employment--and voluntarly chose to accept the change; therefore, you will be held to what you signed. The critical and only issue then is whether your contract prevented them from threatening your job or terminating you; if it did, the document you signed should be voidable by you, and you should consult with an employment law attorney about how to do so and potentially seek compensation for their breach of contract.


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