NYC employment contracts
August 8, 2011 6:15 PM   Subscribe

My brother is negotiating a private sector job here in NYC (on a Green Card) and had a question about employment contracts.

Many of his coworkers are here on H1B visas and have a fixed term (2 years) contract that seems to state that they must stay at the job for 2 years. He, however, was wondering what the rule is for Permanent Residents, as he has a GC thru marriage.

Q: If one is a PR, can an employer ask you to sign a fixed-term employment contract (eg, "You have to stay for two years.") or does he have more freedom due to the GC?

I would assume that since NY is an at-will state, that it is impossible to "fix" the length of the contract. Is this correct?
posted by Doggiebreath to Work & Money (3 answers total)
From the very link you posted: "At-will employment is a doctrine of American law that defines an employment relationship in which either party can break the relationship with no liability, provided there was no express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship."

Most jobs, even for full US citizens, can be fixed-term contracts with (financial) penalties if you leave early. It's not like they can legally require you to stay out the contract, but they can penalize you for not doing it (or offer incentives for doing it, which is functionally though not legally the same thing).
posted by brainmouse at 6:20 PM on August 8, 2011

I'm not clear on NY employment law, my un-lawyer experience in other states has been that employment terms like that aren't illegal and can possibly be enforced as a breach of contract with a claim for damages etc, but often aren't as the employer doesn't judge it worth it to pursue it.

But in terms of immigration status your brother has all the employment rights of a citizen. There are no special rules or strings attached, so he should just be researching NY employment law to get to the bottom of this, and ignoring the GC detail. His situation is nothing at all like the situation of someone on a work visa, and his employer can't do anything to hurt or affect his immigration status (unless they are somehow able to do something resulting in him getting a serious criminal conviction, which seems unlikely).

I would imagine this clause is so the employer can recoup the costs of sponsoring the H1B, and if I were your brother I would try hard to negotiate it away, although they can of course pass him up for someone willing to sign off on those terms.
posted by crabintheocean at 6:56 PM on August 8, 2011

As a permanent resident, your BIL has exactly the same employment rights as an American citizen, and can't be held to any minimum term of employment.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:53 AM on August 9, 2011

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