False verbal promise before signing the offer letter

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False verbal promise before signing the offer letter

I’ve started working for a company about a month ago. Before signing the offer letter, I specifically made sure I will be able to work remotely from overseas at least for some time due to family circumstances, I’ve discussed it both with HR and with management and both OK’ed it. I passed on other job opportunities because the ability to work remotely is very important for me. I have been working remotely for about a month after that. Suddenly one HR person wrote to me that working remotely from overseas is against company policy and they cut off all my work communications and remote access. Now they want me to come on-site and work only from there. My understanding is that otherwise I’ll be terminated from the job. This is at-will employment but they made a false promise to me before I signed the offer, can they just terminate me without compensating my time and lost job opportunities?

Asked on June 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, they can just terminate you, and no they don't owe you any compensation. As you correctly note, unless you have an actual written contract for a defined or set period of time (e.g. a one-year employment contract) which has not yet expired, your employment is employment at will. That means that they can change the terms of your employment at any time, for any reason and can renege upon non-contractual promises previously made.


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