For California employees seeking job security, the prospect of an unexpected termination, especially if done so without cause, understandably produces fear and anxiety. In instances where an employee is terminated soon after a long-distance, interstate, or even international transfer, the consequences of the termination can be extreme. The California Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal in a case filed by a former employee of the defendant, who was terminated without cause less than one year after he was transferred from California to Singapore, a small Southeast Asian nation.
According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff was offered an executive position with the defendant, a software company, in May 2015. While the defendant conducted business in California, the position offered to the plaintiff required relocation to Singapore. The plaintiff accepted the offer and relocation package on May 22, 2015. The offer contained provisions detailing the circumstances under which the plaintiff’s employment could be terminated.
Nearly one year after the plaintiff accepted the offer and moved to Singapore to assume the new position, his employment was terminated. The defendant notified the plaintiff of the termination one month before his departure, and otherwise complied with the conditions in the employment contract/relocation agreement. The letter notifying the plaintiff of his termination did not note any cause or reason for the decision. The plaintiff filed multiple claims against the defendant in California court, alleging that the defendant committed fraud in misrepresenting the details surrounding the job and relocation prior to the plaintiff’s acceptance of the offer. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that he was unlawfully terminated in violation of state law and his employment contract.
The plaintiff’s fraud claims have already been heard in a jury trial, and he was awarded nearly $500,000 in damages based on the defendant’s misrepresentations and the plaintiff’s reliance on them. The unlawful termination case was dismissed by the trial court before trial, as the employment contract appeared to allow for termination without cause, so long as adequate notice was given. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his employment law claims to the California Court of Appeal, where the lower ruling was upheld. According to the appellate opinion, the employment contract was clear and unambiguous that the plaintiff could be terminated without cause. Based on the recent appellate ruling, the plaintiff will be unable to collect any compensation for his wrongful termination claim.
There May Be Multiple Avenues for Relief from Employer Mistreatment
California workers who have been mistreated or misled by an employer often know that they should be entitled to some compensation, but the method of obtaining such compensation is not always clear. Both federal and state laws allow for employers to seek compensation for mistreatment, and within each legal framework, there are various methods to seek relief. With the help of a qualified California employment law attorney, wronged workers can seek damages through all the potential avenues of relief. If you or a loved one is considering a breach of contract, wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, or another employment-related claim against a current or former employer, the qualified California employment lawyers at the Nourmand Law Firm want to hear about your case. An easy and free consultation with one of our employment attorneys can help you decide if you have a claim worth pursuing. If you choose to retain us to assist with your claim, we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a California employment law attorney, call 310-553-3600 today.