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Left a 8 year career, moved to LA after being offered a job I feel was given under false pretense.

Los Angeles, CA |

I was living near near Seattle working for FEMA as a Disaster assistance Employee within IT/Network management for about 8 years. However I decided that finding a stable job with no travel requirements would be beneficial to my life. So I applied to a agency in Downtown Los Angeles. I was offered the job and then declined when the pay, benefits and other compensation where made known to me. However I was then given this statement "I don't recall if I mentioned this during our interview, that we are working on building a strong IT team here in LA which will soon require a managerial/supervisory role. This is potentially an opportunity for you to grow in both position, and most certainly salary." However after moving and taking the job, this appears to have never been a possibility.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

An employer's fraudulent inducement to a potential employee to relocate is a serious matter. By statute, the employer is liable for treble damages.

The problem is proving the fraud. The statement to you was oral, and you would have to prove that they did not in fact contemplate what they said. Nonetheless, you still should consult a lawyer who can discuss the risks and rewards of litigation.

Asker

Posted

The statement was given to me in an email which I still have access to via my gmail account. The statement was given to me by the executive director of business operations and finance who would have had first hand knowledge on the matter.. In addition it has come to light that during the time I was being hired they were considering outsourcing my job all together, I have that documentation as well via email.

Posted

Under Labor Code 970 and 972, an employer who induces an employee to move into or out of California based upon false representations of working conditions, salary, etc. is liable for double damages. In addition, you may have a fraud in the inducement claim.

However, fraud claims based upon oral representations are more difficult to prove, because the defendant will typically dispute that the representation was made. You should look to see if that statement was confirmed in any email or other writings.

Asker

Posted

Yes the statement was given to me in an email which I still have access to.

Posted

My colleagues have addressed the (depression-era) statutes about luring people to California for (non-existent) jobs and the difficulties in proving fraud. Add to this that you appear to be contemplating suing a government agency and you face even more legal/administrative hurdles. It does not seem like a strong case to me, but other attorneys may differ.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Asker

Posted

I'm not looking to sue a government agency.. I left a government agency for a new position in the private sector. Again all the evidence I have is documented in emails.

Posted

"I was offered the job and then declined when the pay, benefits and other compensation where made known to me." This statement is inconsistent with your final statement that you moved and took the job. If you actually took the job, I agree that you should personally seek the services of an attorney who can review the facts with you. However, IMO, your case is weak if this is your evidence. There are, in all probability, facts not stated that undercut your alleged claim. IMO, this email fails to meet the higher standard of proof required, i.e., clear and convincing evidence of fraud.

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Asker

Posted

To clarify, I declined the job as it was not beneficial for my financial needs and goals, however after I was given this statement "I don't recall if I mentioned this during our interview, that we are working on building a strong IT team here in LA which will soon require a managerial/supervisory role. This is potentially an opportunity for you to grow in both position, and most certainly salary. While I couldn't promise you this, as it will depend on you, your leadership, performance and commitment. This will certainly be one way to increase your pay in a significant manner fairly quickly. Something else for you to consider." I decided that it would be a good opportunity. However once I moved and started working at the agency I realized that there was no planned management options to be designated and in addition they were looking into a IT restructuring plan when I was hired that actually considered terminating my "hired" position and outsourcing my position to a contract company. In my belief due to the email correspondence , the position I was taking was a stepping stone to a larger career option which made me decide to relocate and leave my previous employer.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

With this larger statement of the facts, there is even more ground for doubting that these circumstances can be soundly contended to constitute fraud or even serve for a claim based on estoppel.

Asker

Posted

Can you clarify? I clearly have documentation in which I outlined my reasons for declining the job and then accepting only after the statement was given that they were in the middle of restructuring the department and would be able to offer a Managment role there after based on performance.. However there was no movement or planning in this direction before, during or after me accepting the job based on the stated possibility.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

My view is that the quoted statement falls short of the kind of language that can support this kind of claim. In fact, "While I couldn't promise you this..." etc. seems to me to specifically defeat any such claim. There is no specific offer or inducement in these words. I understand how injured you feel, but that is not enough for a sound lawsuit or claim.

Asker

Posted

The lack of a promise is in regards to getting a Managment position. I understand that. However I made the decision to move not based on what I thought was a serious offer of a Managment position but a serious belief I was given by the statement that there was to be a Managment position currently being developed that I would have the opportunity to strive for. That is where I feel mislead as there was no position being developed in this regard as the statement clearly outlined there was..

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

These are fact-driven issues and myview is that the facts here fall short of what is necessary for a sound claim. Others might conclude differently, but the factual standard for promissory estoppel is high.

Michael Raymond Daymude

Michael Raymond Daymude

Posted

I have already stated my view and, it seems to me, that your unstated reasons for accepting the job will not suffice. If you have other emails or other documentary proof of materially false representations about the job which caused you to accept it (particularly over some other job offer) you might have a case. However, you were looking to settle in one place, without travel. If the job fit that bill and you negotiated other terms which were then met I don’t see a case. And, of course, you do not say if you are still employed and, if not, the reason and whether you have a written employment contract – all of which would materially affect any claim you could state.