What recourse is available to me if I was hired under false pretenses?

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What recourse is available to me if I was hired under false pretenses?

When I was hired for my current job, my employer told me that I would be eligible for their benefits package after 90 days. The job posting for my position even clearly states in the job description that, “in return we will give you a competitive financial and benefits package” and shows that it is an “On-Call” position. I am a full-time employee and have completed the required 90 days, but my HR department is now saying that since my job classification is “On-Call” that I do not qualify for the benefits package. What recourse is available to me?

Asked on April 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You *may* be able to sue to get the benefits or for the value of them.

First, if  you have an employment agreement that states that you will receive the benefits for this position, you may enforce. In this case, an employment agreement may not have to be a formal "contract" but might be found, for example, to be have been created by any applications or correspondence between you and the employer, indicating that a job with benefits was offered and you were accepting said job. The advertisment can be evidence of this, but may not be sufficient in and of itself to establish this.

Second, even if you don't have an agreement, if you relied on the representation in the ad to your detriment--i.e. because of the representation of benefits, you quit a different job, gave up another opportunity, moved, etc.--that might establish "promissory estoppel" in your favor forcing the employer to honor the ad.

So if you think you may be able to show there was an employment contract or that you can show detrimental reliance on the ad, it would be worth consulting with an employment attorney, bringing all documentation, to see if you do in fact have a case and what it might be worth.


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