Can I sue employer for promissory estoppel?

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Can I sue employer for promissory estoppel?

I was hired and promised for my position I would be guaranteed at least 20 hours in writing, Now I come back from the training for my first week of work and they say they can only give me 1 day a week due to business being down. I already quit a job on the promise of this other job. I’ve heard of something called “Promissory Estoppel” which if you are harmed by the promise someone made they can legally be at fault. I am being harmed because I’m losing money and might be evicted now just because I took this other job. Can I sue?

Asked on July 26, 2011 Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are well informed; while a promissory is not normally enforceable, it sometimes is, under theory of promissory estoppel, if a person reasonably relied on a promise (i.e. the average person would have relied on it) to his or her detriment (i.e. did something which would hurt him or her if the promise is not fulfilled) and also, it would be reasonable for the promisor to know that the promisee might or would rely on the promise to his or her detriment. From what you write, that situation--giving up a job to take a new one, on the strength of a promise about the number of hours you'd get--might well be one that provided you recourse under a theory of promissory estoppel; it would be worthwhile consulting with an attorney to explore your options and rights in more detail. Good luck.


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