November 23, 2012 – Employment Law
IF FOR ANY REASON THE EMPLOYEE DOES NOT WORK OUT AND NEEDS TO BE TERMINATED THE EMPLOYER IS OPEN TO A LAWSUIT WITH LARGE POTENTIAL DAMAGES.
In the case of Helmer v. Bingham Isuza the employee sued the employer claiming the employer had falsely promised employee salary and benefits inducing the employee to leave his existing employment. When the employee insisted on the promised salary he was terminated. At trial the jury found in the employees favor awarding $450,913.00 in lost wages and 1.5 million in punitive damages.
On appeal the court upheld the verdict. The Court stated “We hold that future lost income is recoverable by an employee pursuing a claim of promissory fraud against an employer who induces him to leave secure employment by knowingly making false promises regarding the terms of his future employment”
The damages were high because the jury believed that the employer had knowingly made false promises regarding the salary, thereby raising an issue of fraud.
UNLESS THE EMPLOYER INTENDS TO OFFER A WRITTEN CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT, WHEN HIRING AN EMPLOYEE AWAY FROM ANOTHER COMPANY SUCH EMPLOYEE, SHOULD BE ASKED TO SIGN A DOCUMENT ACKNOWLEDGING AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT THE EMPLOYMENT IS ONE AT WILL AND THAT NO PROMISES OF SALARY OR OTHER BENEFITS HAVE BEEN MADE TO INDUCE HIM OR HER TO LEAVE HER THEN EXISTING EMPLOYMENT.