I requested a copy of my contract but my HR department have said they have lost it / do not have a copy. I have lost my copy. By law should they have one on file? Where do I stand with requesting a copy? Can I put a complaint in? I have requested one as I have disciplinary meeting regarding my absence. I have genuine reasons doctors notes etc but feel like I am been treated unfairly as the manager has disliked me from the start. Would this help with my grievance I have raised?

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    Did you also lose your copy of the contract? Are you anticipating any dispute with your employer? – bdsl Apr 12 '18 at 7:37
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    What jurisdiction are you in? – Daniel Apr 12 '18 at 7:40
  • Where you stand cannot be answered without specifying what country or state you are in. Employment law will determine what your options are and how important your contract is. You should probably also clarify why you are suddenly after a copy. Put on hold pending clarification. – Lilienthal Apr 12 '18 at 7:44
  • I live in the UK and I have had a few occasions where I have had time off work 2 of them I have doctors notes for one I was involved in a car crash the night before so went into work later the following day, one occasion I was injured at work and one was just a 24 hour virus so I feel that this has been unfair dismissal as the manager has had a problem with me for a while now. But yes unfortunately I have lost my contract. My solicitor is a family friend snd asked for a copy but is away on vacation at the moment. Thank you for the help – Holly Apr 12 '18 at 20:05
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    In the US you would be unable to negotiate back to the terms of your original agreement after the contract had been agreed to (which, we can presume since you are working and being paid). So the only real option you have would be to create a new contract. But, if they fired you for those days off - you could not prove it was in your contract that it was allowed, and they could not prove it was not. It sort of enters a legal gray area... I'd seek advice from an attorney familiar with local employment laws if it does become a problem. – Christopher Apr 13 '18 at 15:17

You didn´t state your country, so I this answer give you more of a general idea. If you update your question we can be a little bit more specific.

In absence of a written contract, legal baseline and precedence will probably set the rules that apply.

If there really is no copy both on your and your employers side, setting up a new one in paper should be beneficial for both parties, as it will remove ambiguities and thus lower the risk of litigation.

  • @bdsl: No, contracts are for the benefit of both parties, as you have written proof what was agreed upon. For example, here in Germany the required minimum vacation time is 4 weeks, but most companies grant 6 weeks by contract. – Daniel Apr 12 '18 at 7:34
  • You might be right @Daniel. Now I think of it there's a low minimum level of sick pay here in the UK, but many contracts specify that the employees normal pay continues when they are sick instead. – bdsl Apr 12 '18 at 7:37
  • On top, the OP should have a copy of the contract that can jsut be copied and notarized and handed over to the HR department. There isa reason you sign 2 copies and keep one. – TomTom Apr 12 '18 at 8:30
  • did you reat if there really is no copy both on your and your employers side - I assumed that OP had none- If he had, why would he go to HR to get one? – Daniel Apr 12 '18 at 8:34
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    @Holly Your company should have all the contracts stored safely. If they lose your contract that's extraordinary incompetence. – gnasher729 Apr 17 '18 at 21:13

I'm based in England, but I assume the principles are similar in many countries.

Legally a contract is a particular type of agreement - it is not a piece of paper. So as long as you and your employer have (or had) an agreement that you will work for them and they will pay you, you have a contract. If there is ever a dispute that goes to court you would be able to find evidence of the existence of this contract, e.g. documents or emails about your work, your bank statements, witness testimony that describes your employment.

If you also don't have any copy of the contract document then there may be limited evidence on what the detailed terms of the contract are. There are likely to be local laws that specify some details of employment contracts, "unless otherwise specified". In the case of any dispute relating to your work a court would have to use a combination of the laws setting these default terms, and evidence based guess work as to what your contract is likely to be.

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    "I assume the principles are similar in many countries." They are not. – Lilienthal Apr 12 '18 at 7:43
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    I thought this was general enough to be widely applicable. Which part is not true in many countries? – bdsl Apr 12 '18 at 7:45
  • Well the US usually doesn't use contracts for one. Employment laws and regulations on implied contracts are different everywhere, there's the issue of determining what kind of evidence really has legal value, you have no idea why the OP is so what aspects of the contract might be relevant, ... – Lilienthal Apr 12 '18 at 7:48
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    The US may not generally use a written contract document, but I think there is legally a contract. In much of the US the implied terms allow either side to terminate employment at any time, but its still a contract. See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment and note the mentions of contract on that page. – bdsl Apr 12 '18 at 7:52
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    I would say that a contract with the contract paper lost is not the same as an implied contract. If you signed a contract, and then the paper is lost, all the terms in the written contract remain valid - they are not overwritten by the legal terms for implied contracts. It just may hard to prove the contents :-( – gnasher729 Apr 12 '18 at 16:51

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