Contracts are supposed to be legally binding agreements. What is a college professor to do, however, when his or her employer backs out on their half of the agreement? It is just such a situation that professors of San Francisco State University in California are facing, and they have gone public with their claims of breach of contract.
At least three professors have come forward with accusations that they were given contracts promising certain privileges, such as a reduced work load, and that those promises were later retracted by the university. One of the professors now feels he was drawn to the teaching position under false pretenses, saying he never would have considered the job if the contract had not guaranteed him a reduced teaching schedule to allow him to continue his research. The original terms of the contract were upheld until a new administration took over. Other professors are finding themselves in similar circumstances, with contracts being upheld at first but withdrawn later.
The professors say they are not suing for money. In fact, usually, employees cannot legally sue their employers for punitive damages in cases of breach of contract. These professors allege that they are fighting for justice, to make sure that institutions like the university uphold their contractual obligations to their employees. Several of the professors also assert that they have experienced intimidation attempts by the college's administrators.
In California cases such as these, the ins and outs and legal complications may feel overwhelming to employees facing breach of contract by their employers. A law firm with experience in business litigation could offer valuable insight and counsel on how best to approach the situation. A skilled attorney would be able to help the wronged employees understand their rights as to whether the terms of the contract can be enforced, and guide them through the process whether the dispute goes through arbitration or mediation or goes to court.
Source: insidehighered.com, "Faculty members allege a pattern of breach of contract at San Francisco State University", Colleen Flaherty, Nov. 21, 2016