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Thread: Being hired under false pretenses/termination of at-will employment

  1. #1
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    Being hired under false pretenses/termination of at-will employment

    I'm asking for a little advice here since I figured at lot of you are experienced freelancers. I've only been doing this a very short while, so I'm going to need your help.

    I was hired under blaringly false pretenses for a project (I freelance with other things besides writing). It became apparent just how false these pretenses were after about an hour into my first day. I didn't have "attitude" or anything, but I was fired on my first day for a very, very lame excuse...and even the other people who worked there above me thought it was ridiculous and I have in writing where they disagree with me being fired.

    I would like someone with some experience in this area to PM me for two reasons: 1) I don't want to be caught defaming someone's character, even if I never state the company's name. 2) On another message board, I asked for help and was basically told I have a sense of entitlement and need to learn the value of hard work (the pretense was that I would have about 3 times the responsibility I was actually given....which apparently in some people's minds is okay because you're supposed to grovel at your boss's feet for even giving you a job).

    If any of you have any experience with being hired under false pretenses and hazy termination of at-will employment, PLEASE PM me.

  2. #2
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
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    A few things. I have some experience with hirings and firings.

    First, what was the nature of the job?

    Second, what sort of remedy are you hoping for?

    With the little amount of information that was provided, I have to say that you being fired on the first day was probably the best thing that could have happened to you.

    A job is a very personal and intimate relationship upon which your life and livelihood is dependant on an employer. If the employer is the type to hire you under false pretenses than fire you, he's wasted not only your time but his time as well.

    In terms of future employment. Depending on the job, everything should be spelled out in writing. Similarly, just as an employer is interviewing you, you want to be interviewing and checking up on them, and the company.

    When I was looking for a job, I turned down a few offers because the people interviewing me were assholes and I knew that I didn't want to work for assholes. In another case, the company wasn't as solid as I would have liked and i found out they had a horrible history of layoffs.

    So, depending on the type of job you are going after, do your research and get it in writing. Because once you jump in bed with them, it makes things 10 times more complicated.

    As for remedies. You can contact the BBB (better business bureau) perhaps file a compliant. Write up an article for the local paper. I seriously doubt you can sue. Most states are 'no fault' states meaning employers can fire you for no reason.

    Good luck. I know losing a job sucks and know how you feel

    Mel...
    Last edited by dgiharris; 07-07-2009 at 01:04 PM.

  3. #3
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    I'm an employer, but not a lawyer. My understanding of applicable law is based on my understanding of employer's obligations in Australia, and in my local jurisdiction (a territory in Australia).

    In my jurisdiction an employment agreement is a contract in which you must be given correct information, have time to consider it and agree to the terms of the employment. If you can demonstrate that the information you were given was incorrect (you have to demonstrate it, you can't just claim it), or that they used pressure techniques to avoid due consideration then the contract isn't binding. If in consequence of agreeing to that contract under demonstrably false or misleading information or unlawful haste you had suffered loss or damage (e.g. financial or reputational, or some opportunity cost -- e.g. you turned down another job offer) then you might have a case for compensation.

    Many employment contracts have termination-for-convenience clauses, and if the contract is legitimate then the clauses will likely stand unless they're in breach of applicable employment legislation. In my jurisdiction employment legislation has changed rapidly in the last few years to favour the employer, and has gradually been swinging back.

    If your employer instructed you to perform unlawful acts, and you refused and were dismissed in consequence then you may also have grounds for compensation or perhaps be able to refer the matter to the police or both.

    With all that in mind, if you'd agreed to a lawful contract and they dismissed you lawfully in accordance with the contract, but 'talked up the work' during interview and you have no evidence of that, in my neck of the woods I think that there's not much you can do about it.
    Last edited by Ruv Draba; 07-07-2009 at 03:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Rambaldi's Chosen One ClaudiaGray's Avatar
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    If you were an "at will" employee (in the U.S., at least), they can fire you at pretty much any time for pretty much any reason, just as you could quit at any time for pretty much any reason. Your situation doesn't seem to fit any of the exceptions to that rule. Sorry -- it sounds like it sucks, but based on the facts here, I don't think you have any legal recourse.

    (I'm not a labor and employment lawyer, though, so take it for what it's worth.)

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    practical experience, FTW TabithaTodd's Avatar
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    http://www.dol.state.ga.us/

    check it out, maybe this site can help you?

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  6. #6
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TabithaTodd View Post
    http://www.dol.state.ga.us/

    check it out, maybe this site can help you?

    My suggestion - contact your local Wage and Hour board and tell them your concerns. They will tell you if it is false pretense or not and what avenues you can pursue.
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  7. #7
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Since they fired you after only one day, it's arguable you didn't lose much, unless you moved specifically to take this job or something like that. One might even argue they did you a favor, since the job wasn't "what they may have led you to expect." Did you have anything in writing, like a job offer letter, or at least emails? (print them out with full headers)

    I suggest you get an appointment to talk to an employment attorney. That's who you would need to talk to if you wanted to sue anyway. It may cost $100 for a half hour of time, but it may save you researching this for hours on your own, and posting more stuff online like this thread that might come back to haunt you. I'm not a lawyer and know only enough to be dangerous, but I don't think there's much or anything you could sue for. So if nothing else, talking to a lawyer familiar with that area of law will let you know exactly where you stand.

    If you got the job through an agent or service, I think you should tell them exactly what happened, though you might talk to a lawyer first to be sure.
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  8. #8
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    There are a very few number of factors that make a job termination ILLEGAL - they include termination based on age, religion, gender, ethnicity, or union-related activities. Unless the reason for termination was illegal, then... the termination is legal. They can fire you because they didn't like the color of your sweater. They can fire you because you smack your gum when you chew. It sucks, but it isn't illegal. (and yes, I used to be in employment and labor law...)

  9. #9
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    I don't want to go into on here, which is why I'm asking to me PM'd by someone with experience.

    Long story short, she lied to me twice and then lied to her boss surrounding my termination....all of which I have in writing.

  10. #10
    Rambaldi's Chosen One ClaudiaGray's Avatar
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    Even if she lied to you, that doesn't make it illegal. Some degree of dishonesty is involved in a lot of job offers ("We're all one big happy family here at Gigantotech.") Lying to her boss is an issue between her and her boss. If you weren't terminated for being a member of a protected class (gender/race/age/etc.) or for organizing a union, and you didn't make huge changes in your life because of the job offer (turning down another position/moving/etc.), you don't have a claim. You just got shafted.

  11. #11
    Lost in School Work icerose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    I don't want to go into on here, which is why I'm asking to me PM'd by someone with experience.

    Long story short, she lied to me twice and then lied to her boss surrounding my termination....all of which I have in writing.
    Unfortunately "At will" means you can quit at any time for any reason without giving notice and they can fire you for pretty much any reason or even no reason at any time without notice.

    It doesn't mean squat that she lied or if you had a mountain of proof. Thank your lucky stars you don't have to work for her and move on.
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  12. #12
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    Really? You can actually legally lie to someone about their job description (I mean a HUGE lie, not a small one) and legally lie to them about why they were fired?

  13. #13
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    I worked six hours at my first job and got fired at the end of the day. I was puzzled more than angry, but shrugged and got a job elsewhere that paid better.

    You lost a day. Big deal. Let it go and find a better job.

    It will cost you more in lawyer fees than you'll ever make back in litigation. The odds are all stacked on the employer's side. For whatever reason, they decided to let you go. Take it as a sign that there's a better job down the road.

    The best revenge is living well.

  14. #14
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    I had been contracted to this job three months before and was contracted for an entire month and moved for the job.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW TabithaTodd's Avatar
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    Canada must have stronger labor laws because we don't have that issue here. Hubbs actually went to the labor board with a company that wrongfully dismissed him (over a set of truck keys being tossed into the wrong key box - it happens, the boss himself had made this mistake before too).

    Under the wrongful dismissal laws in Canada (sic Ontario in this case) hubby was forced to quit his job because as a truck driver when you sit you make no money at all. They sat him for a week for the key thing then tried to claim he pulled a no show when he was deejaying my sister's wedding and had asked for that weekend off (July 5th) 6 months prior in writing and verbally with a go ahead from the big boss.

    Not only did it cause us financial hardships we had to sell belongings to keep up (at the time with 3 kids to feed). Mind you hubbs didn't follow through but he could have had the company fined, pay restitution and damages including back rent, car payments missed, lost wages and emotional hardship. He could have walked away with a very huge sum if he had only followed through with it. He even could have had them replace the cerwin vega speakers he had to sell well below their value to put food on the table and keep bills up to date.

    I think Canada is more protective of their employees than they are of the companies to an extent compared to the United States.

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  16. #16
    the world is at my command jennontheisland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    I had been contracted to this job three months before and was contracted for an entire month and moved for the job.
    You moved for a job that was only supposed to last for a month?
    You are more than welcome to take anything I say personally, whether it was intended that way or not.

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  17. #17
    Lost in School Work icerose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennontheisland View Post
    You moved for a job that was only supposed to last for a month?
    That's what I want to know. If I was single I might consider moving for a temp job but it would have to pay a heck of a lot to do that.

    As for the lying, you really don't have much recourse because it was a termination at any point for any reason kind of job. It doesn't matter what else went on unless they sexually harrassed you or some such and you could prove that. Just lying about the job, not really.
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  18. #18
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    Yes, I did move for a temp job because I am moving abroad soon, and this is an area that is much cheaper to live in.

  19. #19
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtherabbithole View Post
    I had been contracted to this job three months before and was contracted for an entire month and moved for the job.
    In that case, go straight to an employment attorney. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
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  20. #20
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    And on that note, I'm locking this thread. This really isn't the place to solicit legal advice. The advice benbradley gave you is absolutely correct. You need more help than you can receive here. Make an appointment to speak with an attorney specializing in employment law.
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