Workplace Woes: When the Boss Wants to Change your Contract

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Last week I discussed the painful truth about earning more than $26.25 per hour.

In short, there are no written laws in our country entitling this category of employees to specific periods for sick leave, vacation leave, meal and rest/mental health breaks and regulating how many hours a normal working day/week/month consists of, so that overtime can be paid for time worked beyond that.

An important takeaway point I also mentioned was the importance of having a written contract in place clearly identifying all the terms of employment agreed between you and your employer with particular emphasis on those terms which influenced your decision to accept the job offer.

Let’s suppose now that you do get an offer of employment. You and your new employer sign a written contract which contains all the terms of your employment including a fixed sum for your salary. Everything is going well. A few months later, your boss says that business is not as good as when you were hired and if you are to keep your job, they need to reduce your pay by ten percent.

What your employer is trying to do here is make a unilateral (or one-sided) change to your employment contract. You can choose to accept the changes proposed by your boss. Usually they will have you sign a document recording your agreement to those changes.

But what if you are not willing to agree to the proposed pay cut, because you see that business is booming and think the boss is just being greedy? Can you refuse your boss?

Yes, you can. Your employer may then try to terminate your employment but may have to face the consequence of that decision through a lawsuit.

Your employer may continue to employ you, but then try to pay you the reduced salary. What can you do?

Seek legal advice and representation. Provided you never accepted the pay cut, you may very well have the right to insist on being paid the full salary your employer originally agreed to pay you.

This reasoning may apply to many situations where there are clear and unambiguous terms of employment in a written employment contract which your boss later tries to make a one-sided change, and where you refuse to accept that proposed change.

Your lawyer would be able to analyse the specific facts of your individual case to determine if you are entitled to stand on the terms of your original contract.

Options for resolution include engaging in dialogue with your employer, through your attorney if necessary, to get their agreement to stick to original terms. Mediation may also be an option if initial dialogue does not yield results.

(For more on mediation, see my earlier article published on on February 3, 2020 entitled: “Mediation – An alternative to Lawsuits” accessible through this link:

If all attempts at an amicable settlement fails, you can have recourse to the High Court for relief.

© Neela Ramsundar, LL.B (HONS), L.E.C Civil Litigation Attorney at Law & Certified Mediator

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for general informative purposes only. It does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. For legal advice on your specific situation, please contact an Attorney-at-Law of your choosing directly. Liability for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever allegedly incurred a consequence of using content in this article is thus hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.


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