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Before I state my question I would like to say that I'm not requesting legal advice. I've already reached out to a law firm regarding possible legal options.

I work through a contract agency as a developer. When I was recruited to the agency I was informed that I would be taking on a 6 month contract.

After 5 months I was surprised to find that it was actually an 8 month contract. This led to a meeting between me, the company, and the contract agency. My recruiter admitted to a mistake when informing me of the contract length.

I didn't mind the job, so I accepted this with the verbal understanding that it's obviously essential for me to know the length of my employment for both personal and professional reasons.

Now we're at 8 months minus 2 weeks. I reached out to my project manager as a reminder of this yesterday. Today I was informed by another employee contracted through the same company that he had pressed for me to stay on this project with the agency and that subsequently my contract had been extended another month.

The problem I have with this is simple. I don't believe it's correct or ethical for a contract agency to extend a contract without my consent, essentially cornering me into an obligation that I was not made aware of.

I'm not to the point of anger and I can work the extension, but I would like some advice on how to proceed in communicating this to both the Employee that informed me, the company I'm contracted for, and the contract agency as a giant error on their part without throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. I'm not looking for heated confrontation or ill-will, but I do think this lack of communication and forced commitment is absolutely unacceptable.

Please feel free to ask any clarifying questions you feel are necessary. I'm writing this on mobile so my formatting and explanation may not be as well done as I would like.

Thanks!

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    When you signed the actual contract, what did it say about the length of the engagement and any possible extensions? Jun 16, 2021 at 16:33
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    If you are working through an agency, there are two agreements in place. One between the company and the agency. And another between the agency and you. I'm assuming that the confusion has all been about the contract between the company and the agency, not between the agency and you. Jun 16, 2021 at 16:34
  • @PhilipKendall the contract that I was made aware of between the company and the agency was 6 months initially and to be honest I haven't got the answers you're looking for beyond that. I do have the contract but I'm not able to look into it at the moment. As I said I'm not so much looking for illegality as a way to approach not being made aware by the contract agency that my time has been extended. It seems at the very least unethical and conflicting to make a commitment on my behalf without informing or discussing with me.
    – zfrisch
    Jun 16, 2021 at 16:50
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    What's your relationship with the agency. Do you work for them? Are you their permanent employee?
    – Nathan
    Jun 16, 2021 at 17:03
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    This question effectively can't be answered without the information @NathanCooper asked for. The company certainly seems to think it's reasonable to renegotiate their contract with their client, which you are not a signatory to, without asking your consent. If you are a permanent employee of the agency, I don't think they're entirely unjustified in that. It's the same situation as being a permanent employee anywhere else -- if the project goes on for 1 or 2 or 8 more months than originally planned and they tell you to keep working on it, well, you keep working on it.
    – B. Ithica
    Jun 17, 2021 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

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I will avoid speaking on the legal issues, other to say that this legal issue will depend on the different contracts between the players. If you are an employee of the contracting agency, and the contract is just between your employer and the other company, it's quite possible that the contract details itself is outside your scope of concern.

Today I was informed by another employee contracted through the same company that he had pressed for me to stay on this project with the agency and that subsequently my contract had been extended another month.

You should reach out to somebody that you report before you take this a step further and actual get some authoritative statement on the matter. Getting it in writing would be your best bet.

I would absolutely not be surprised at all if the employee is misinformed, or is extrapolating their contract situation onto you, not understanding previous discussions where you have detailed this as unacceptable.

The problem I have with this is simple. I don't believe it's correct or ethical for a contract agency to extend a contract without my consent... I would like some advice on how to proceed in communicating this to both the Employee that informed me, the company I'm contracted for, and the contract agency.

You need to approach with the mindset that you wish to avoid this happening in the future. Businesses are not really concerned too much with what is ethical, or morally correct, but making money.

Regardless of the legalities of the situation, you probably do need to establish if this is normal in your industry. I get that it is both potentially legally and morally wrong, but if other contracted employees are happy for these types of contract extensions, you may be hard pressed to get contracts in the future. I know this isn't fair, but it's just something you need to keep in mind.

Something you could consider is just flatly declining if the contract is extended, stating that you have another contract that is starting. You may be able to use it to soften your way out and more gracefully decline to extend.

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If you worry about, if they change the contract this time with time, so what they will change next time? Then you already have a legal advice.

If you want to resign, then you should consult lawyers how long you is your notification period.

The point is I don't quite catch what you concern about. Or maybe the contract is writing something like you can not resign before contract end??

Just show HR your point of view, don't change the contract without your consent, then everything is fine.

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