I'm an undergraduate in the U.S., and a few weeks after starting my tutoring job this year at my university, my employer changed the manner in which I am being paid.
I signed a form that states "ALL TUTORS ARE PAID 8 HOURS, unless told otherwise." However, a few weeks later, I received an email stating I would be paid for the exact number of hours worked. I had this same job for the past two years, and I was paid for 8 hours while only working 5 hours each week, and the department was fully aware of this. They hired me again without indicating things had changed until after I signed the form.
I spoke with the person who sent the email, and she said that she was sorry I misinterpreted the statement "ALL TUTORS ARE PAID 8 HOURS, unless told otherwise," and that it actually means that it is expected that people with my position will work at most 8 hours. I expected she would say that I am now being "told otherwise," so the contract had not been violated, but that was not the case.
It seems like my university may have done something wrong, but I'm not sure. In particular:
- The sheet I signed seems pretty informal, and it was clearly made by someone in the department just for this position. It's not some government form with a name. Does that mean it isn't legally binding?
- If it is legally binding, does the phrase "unless told otherwise" mean that it has not been violated? It seems like the moral thing to do would probably be to tell me before starting to work, but maybe its still legal to do it afterwards. The department totally thinks that the sheet is being violated, but it's possible they're in the clear without realizing it.
- Even if it is a binding contract and it has been violated, does that mean anything? Am I supposed to just quit and look for a job elsewhere, or is there something else I ought to do?
Thanks for the help.