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Penalty Clause and Claim for Liquidated Damages on an Assignment Letter

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Arresto Menor
Dear Atty.

I signed an Employment offer from  a company which was formalized by a Job offer document signed by the Department Manger (Hiring Manager) and the HR Manger. I will specify one of the  clause as follow:

That you agree to stay with the company for 2 years which is called "Training Period" for consideration of the trainings and coaching that you will receive. Else an amount of PHP PHP200,000 shall be collected for breach.

So I resigned from a previous employer since the offer attracts me and all of the terms in good faith I know was in the job offer. Now on the first day of my Employment with this current employer, they made me to sign a "Training Agreement" which revised, not stating superseding the job offer - that additional to the 2 years, I must serve the company for another 2 years immediately after the Training Period. >> I raised the point to the HR assistant who presented the document to me and just said that we need to sign the document as it is discussed previously. Left with no choice because I do not have any work to go back in case I will not sign and do continue this new work, with  good faith that this company will provide suitable conditions of employment, I signed the document.

Then the internal trainings commenced on the first 4 months of my stay, then after that I go live with the process, similar to BPO handling calls.

Before I enter my second year, Management approached me and they will assign me abroad to provide assistance to this particular office. I am asking them if I have option not to go, but they answered that this is part of my Training since I will be exposed to the process of the customer and not following will make me breaching my contract.

Particular to the assignment....
I signed a contract where states that this assignment is a Developmental in nature where it will provide me added skills for the performance of my job in the original post in Manila as a Technical Suport.

The contract also stipulates a penalty of 600,000 as well as liquidated damages if I will not finish the contract duration with the exception of course of some events like Medical reasons..

Now, with my realization , there were certain facts that was not cleared to me which will affect my decision to accept the assignment, fact such as

1. I will be a service engineer which requires me to travel a lot and be exposed to Air , Land and sea travels all throuhout this country of assignment.
2. That there are assignments which poses myself to prolong exposure to hazardous chemicals and environments (there has been no information that deployments in example to offshore assignments will last more than 2 weeks, sometimes 5 weeks.

--- all these without any identified JOB Hazard allowance

3. The 600,000 which was not mentioned prior the verbal communication of the assignment, and just made known to me on the day of the contract signing, which is a week before my mobilization to this country

I called in their attention to remove the 600,000 from the contract but they said that it is across to all employees who are being sent on assignment. And also a request for me to be recalled, but they denied saying I am breaching my contract based on the original Training Agreement where I agree that the training can be of any place other than in Manila.

In my meeting with the Managers involved with the implementation of the assignment and the HR which signed the contract they commented the following

1. On the previous meeting we had for the assignment, it is not the venue to discuss the 600,000
2. HR questioned me during our meeting that If it is made known to me prior that this has penalty of 600,000 , will I still accept the assignment.( I answered of course NO)

My question Atty are the following

1. Are they the one who might breached the contract since, first they made a new Training contract which is not consistent to the job offer without a clause stating superseding the former?

2. Are they the one who might breached the contact since I am still in the Training Period (2 year term ) - then they made me to work as a Service Engineer with benefits coming from the sister company because they pay Manila for my Services. - exploitation as maybe

3. Is the 600,000 Penalty clause and liquidated damages be enforceable?

4. I plan to resign because the condition of work is not suited for my age and the risk involved do not worth the allowances, is it right for me to justify the resignation based on their concealment of the important details of the assignment which may have not made me to agree to this assignment because the nature of the work is prejudicial for my safety and to my health.

Thanks in advance Atty. More power to you.

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