Can I Sue My Employer for False Promises?

can I sue my employer for false promises

Did you move across the country to start a new job only to realize the new employer did not give you the benefits, salary, title, or location they said they would? Your employer may have intentionally misled you to get you to take the job.

As an employee, you might ask, Can I sue my employer for false promises? As a California employee, you have rights. If your employer has made false promises, you may be able to sue them and seek compensation. 

Our Starpoint Law employment attorneys can help you understand and navigate this complicated legal question. We can advocate for you and help protect your rights.

What Are False Promises?

An employer makes a false promise when they promise an employee something about their job without intending to provide it.

Employers often make these promises to attract top talent to their organization. Such misrepresentations are fraud. Another term for this type of misrepresentation is “fraudulent inducement of employment.” 

Fraud can happen both before hiring (pre-hire) and during the employment relationship. It is essentially a lie that the employer tells you to convince you to take a job or to discourage you from leaving the job for other career options.

To be illegal, the false statements must be related to important aspects of your employment. Statements may concern:

  • The type or existence of the job;
  • How long the job will last;
  • Promised pay;
  • The workplace conditions; or
  • Whether there are strikes or other labor disputes between current employees and the employer.

False promises take various forms. They may be verbal, written, or advertised in printed form.

What Are Common Employment False Promises?

Common examples of false promises or misrepresentations by an employer to an employee include but are not limited to: 

  • Salary discrepancies—your employer promises a high salary or guaranteed bonus to entice you to work there or stay longer but never delivers;
  • Career advancement—your employer promises to give you a promotion in three months to get you to stay in the job, but you never receive the promotion;
  • Workload—your employer promises you will have plenty of work to stay busy and fully engaged, but there is not enough work for you once you start;
  • Work environment—your employer makes false assurances that you will have a healthy and safe work environment, but you soon learn there is mold in your office; and
  • Failure to disclose—your employer fails to disclose important information that only the employer is aware of (e.g., the employer tells you the company is financially stable when the employer knows it is not).

There are many other examples of employment misrepresentation. You may be able to pursue a false promises lawsuit if your employer made promises about your title, job, benefits, workplace, job security, or advancement.

How to Prove a False Promises Claim

Cases regarding false promises are very fact-specific. Every case is different. To recover compensation, you must prove each of the following elements:

  • The employer made a representation about an important fact concerning the job;
  • The representation was not true;
  • The employer knew the representation was not true when it was made;
  • The employer intended for you to rely on the false information;
  • You reasonably relied on the false representation;
  • You were harmed as a result; and
  • Your reliance on the employer’s misrepresentation was a significant cause of your harm.

In court, you must prove each of these elements is more likely true than not. Often, the biggest challenge in proving a claim for false promises is demonstrating that the employer knew the representation was false.

The employer may claim that they did not know, it was only their opinion, or they made a mistake. Having evidence to show this element is critical.

It is helpful to collect any evidence that may support your case. Evidence might include: 

  • Offer letters, 
  • Employment contract, 
  • Text messages, 
  • Voicemail messages, 
  • Electronic mail, 
  • Contemporaneous notes, 
  • Recorded conversations, 
  • Witness statements, and 
  • Any other documentation that might show the employer intentionally misrepresented a term or condition of employment.

Other information to support your claim includes anything that shows harm or financial loss resulting from the false misrepresentation. If you relocated for the new job, passed up a different higher paying opportunity, or incurred expenses for your mental health, evidence of these outcomes can help prove damages in your case.

An intelligent and experienced California employment lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed. They can then weave it together to prove your case effectively. 

Criminal or Civil Penalties May Apply

California law prohibits employers from making false promises of employment to potential and current employees. The Golden State is committed to protecting employee rights.

If an employer makes a false promise to influence the employee improperly, the employer may face criminal penalties. Criminal penalties may include a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of $50-$1,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both.

However, you are unlikely to recover any compensation for your financial losses through a criminal conviction. Luckily, you have the option to pursue compensation from your employer in a civil action.

In a civil action, the employer may be required to pay double damages resulting from the misrepresentations. An employee may be able to recover monetary amounts for relocation expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Starpoint Law attorneys can help you recover what you deserve and hold your employer accountable.

Hire a California Employment Lawyer to Help

If you believe you were hired under false pretenses or your employer otherwise misled you about the terms and conditions of your employment, hire Starpoint Law. We can assess the nuances of your case and help you negotiate a substantial settlement or advocate on your behalf in court.

Our attorneys have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients in employment law disputes. We are proud to serve our clients with empathy, integrity, and commitment. We also thoroughly understand California employment law.

Call Starpoint Law today to learn how we can help you with your false promise case.

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Starpoint Injury Law Staff

Starpoint Law was founded on a number of core principles that allow us to help our clients and develop deep and meaningful relationships. If you have suffered injuries or facing an issue with your employer, reach out to our legal team and we can sit down for a free consultation and start the process immediately.

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