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  1. #1
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    Hired Under False Pretenses

    What is the name of your state? North Carolinaundefined I interviewed for a project manager position with a company in North Carolina. During the entire hiring process, the executives of the company stated that i would be managing a 7 year contract which they were going to be awarded from another company. After finalizing all the necessary hiring paperwork, I was hired and was going to relocate to North Carolina from Texas.

    On my first day of employment, I discovered that my company did NOT have the contract yet. I was told they had the contract during the interview process. I ask the executives to explain themselves and they admit they did not have a contract and that I would have to re-write the entire contract proposal to help win the contract. The executives also said they would win the contract because they were a minority owned business and the company who was awarding the contract needed a minority owned business to satisfy their commitment with the Federal Government. This company also used my name and credentials in their first contract proposal before I became an employee of the company.

    Long story short - they were not awarded the contract and I was laid off without compensative for physical damanges I incurred. Two other employees were involved in this case and 1 is suing now. Is what they did illegal? I believe it is on several levels.

    Thanks in advance,
    kuwagner
  2. #2
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwagner
    Is what they did illegal? I believe it is on several levels.
    Rather than playing '100 questions'.... on what 'levels' do you think they were 'illegal'??
  3. #3
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    Hired under False Pretenses

    I believe the acts which were illegal are:

    1) Lying. They stated they had the contract (which is in my offer letter btw) when they did not. ( Physical damages should be awarded)

    2) Reckless. Then, they stated they would win the contract for minority reasons to keep us (me and two other employees) from quitting, when they had nothing to confirm this fact. ( Punitive damages shoud be awarded.)

    3) They used my name to solicit business before I was under contract or an employee of the company. they used information I submitted to them during the hiring process about my personal background and qualifications. I have documents for proof. (Im sure there is a law against this.)
  4. #4
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwagner
    I believe the acts which were illegal are:

    1) Lying. They stated they had the contract (which is in my offer letter btw) when they did not. ( Physical damages should be awarded)
    Lying in itself is not illegal. Also, what 'physical damages' were incurred??

    Reckless. Then, they stated they would win the contract for minority reasons to keep us (me and two other employees) from quitting, when they had nothing to confirm this fact. ( Punitive damages shoud be awarded.)
    'Reckless' in itself is also not illegal. They very likely had every belief that they would win the contract. Also, punitive damages would not be appropriate, even if their statements were 'reckless'.

    They used my name to solicit business before I was under contract or an employee of the company.
    That could be improper, but it would depend largely on exactly how your name was used and in what context. It is not uncommon to include a resume of a prospective 'manager' in a bid. ("We intend to use Bob Johnson as our manager on this project. His resume is attached").

    they used information I submitted to them during the hiring process about my personal background and qualifications. I have documents for proof. (Im sure there is a law against this.)
    See above.

    Now, to the bottom line.... are you willing to spend several thousand $$ and a year or more of your time pursuing this?? If so, then go talk with a local attorney.
  5. #5
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    THanks for the reply Jetx but with all due respect, when a company lies and tells several people that they have a contract, and then each person makes financial decisons and employment commitments based on their false statements (which they knew were false at the time they stated them), this is illegal.

    People quit their jobs based on their false statements which they knowingly made. They intentially decieved us so it would appear to the company they were trying to get the contract from that they had their **** together.

    I have all kinds of costs which I paid for out of my own pocket related to this experience. Plus, they are liable for all the costs I incurred after they laid me off because I should have been employed working on the contract.

    Punitive damages are in order. When a company is knowingly reckless like they were with three employees, a court usually awards punitive damages to teach the company a lesson to not do it again. Again, three people are involved in this case. If punitive damages are not in order, what damages would be in order?

    Im not opposed to how I was fired, it is how I was hired. Also, it is illegal to use a persons name to solicit business without their consent. For instance, I can use the name "Michael Jordan" to sell basketball equipment from a sporting goods company which I own without his consent. They were trying to make money off my name and credentials regardless of how common it is
    during the contract bidding process.

    Are you a lawyer, JETX? based on your statements, it doesnt sound like you are.

    I do have a lawyer already - but was wondering what everyone on the site thought about this case.

    Thanks for the reply,

    Kuwagner
  6. #6
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Rather than spending a lot of time trying to argue the error of your ways.... the simple facts are:
    1) How are you going to PROVE your claims in a court?? From your post, the only thing I can see you might have a chance of proving is that they might have submitted your resume with the proposal.

    2) Do you have the money and time that it will take to prosecute this case?? Do you really intend on putting your life on hold for the year or two it might take..... all with little or no chance of success (in my opinion).


    Bottom line.... you are pissed about the circumstances and I agree, based on your post, they treated you pretty crappy. However, there is nothing in your post that would even suggest you would be successful in court. This is all fresh in your mind and you are being blinded by your anger. When you can step back from it, you will see that you have no real legal recourse. You have been screwed. Accept it, learn from it and move on.
  7. #7
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    Hiring under False Pretenses

    OK - I will state how I am going to prove that their errors.....

    #1) It clearly states in my offer letter that I will manage the contract they have obtained with this other company. While they can re-assign me to other duties as I am hired, evidence does show in the offer letter that they stated they had a contract when in fact, they did not. There are no terms like "it is our intention for you to manage this potential contract if we win the contract" in the offer letter. I would have never accepted the job if that is what it stated.

    Other evidence include witnesses and verbal conversations which is not as strong as the offer letter.

    #2) I do have in my hands a digital copy of the first proposal which I obtained from the company which they were trying to win the contract with. It shows my name as well as the other two people in the body of the proposal. No terms like "we intend", etc. are used. It states that I am going to manage the contract. This is before I was even offered the job or agreed to work there. I never gave them authorization to use my name or credentials. My hire date is 1 month after the submittal date of this proposal.

    #3) Also, the 3 employees (who are affected by this) had countless verbal discussions with the executives as a group which we have documented (as a group). In these discussions, we were all told the same things - and those discussions show how they intentially lied to all of us which shows reckless behavior. This is very easy to prove because most of the meetings were with one executive of the company after the "cat was out of the bag". 3 against 1 and we all are saying the same thing, very easy to prove.

    I am not concerned about $$ or the time it will take to prosecute or settle out of court (which I believe will be the
    end result). I am only concerned with the legality of their actions and what specifc laws they violated. Do you have any specific case law which can be used?

    Does anyone have any knowledge of specific cases which are similiar to this? I dont have a WestLaw account but Im sure this has happened before......

    Thanks,

    Kuwagner
  8. #8
    Beth3 is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, there have been cases like this although I can't give you a specific cite.

    If the employer purposefully defrauded you during the recruiting process in order to induce you to accept the job, you may have the basis of a civil claim against them. Whether the cost of litigation and the time involved for an uncertain outcome will be worthwhile is something you need to decide after discussing the merits of your case with an attorney.

    Good luck.
    A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  9. #9
    JETX is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwagner
    It clearly states in my offer letter that I will manage the contract they have obtained with this other company.
    The 'key' here is that is an OFFER. It is not a guarantee, nor is it a contract. They have the right to rescind, terminate or change that at any time.

    While they can re-assign me to other duties as I am hired, evidence does show in the offer letter that they stated they had a contract when in fact, they did not. There are no terms like "it is our intention for you to manage this potential contract if we win the contract" in the offer letter. I would have never accepted the job if that is what it stated.
    And while that MIGHT be actionable (fraud?), it would be very hard to PROVE to a court.

    Other evidence include witnesses and verbal conversations which is not as strong as the offer letter.
    Agreed. In fact, they are useless. Especially if your 'witness' is wife, family or friend, who will be seen as biased by the court.

    I do have in my hands a digital copy of the first proposal which I obtained from the company which they were trying to win the contract with. It shows my name as well as the other two people in the body of the proposal. No terms like "we intend", etc. are used. It states that I am going to manage the contract. This is before I was even offered the job or agreed to work there. I never gave them authorization to use my name or credentials. My hire date is 1 month after the submittal date of this proposal.
    Sorry, but all of that is irrelevant.... since they didn't get the contract. You obviously cannot be manager of a contract they didn't get.

    Also, the 3 employees (who are affected by this) had countless verbal discussions with the executives as a group which we have documented (as a group). In these discussions, we were all told the same things - and those discussions show how they intentially lied to all of us which shows reckless behavior. This is very easy to prove because most of the meetings were with one executive of the company after the "cat was out of the bag". 3 against 1 and we all are saying the same thing, very easy to prove.
    And again, little or no relevancy to the issue. The only thing you and they can prove is that you had meetings... and that the contract (and employment) was not 'won'.

    I am not concerned about $$ or the time it will take to prosecute or settle out of court (which I believe will be the end result). I am only concerned with the legality of their actions and what specifc laws they violated.
    Then by all means, quit wasting your time here and go find a good contract/employment attorney.

    Do you have any specific case law which can be used?
    Sorry, but no such thing in a case like this. You might find some that MIGHT have relevance.... on some of your issues.... but not specific to all of them.

    Go get your attorney. He can certainly review your case and, if warranted, pursue litigation.
  10. #10
    longneck is offline Member
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    keep in mind if you take these people to court, that becomes part of the public record. you may be damaging your potential future employment opportunities. who wants to hire someone that has sued their previous employers (or potential employers, as the case may be)?
  11. #11
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    Just found this on the internet:

    Fraud In The Hiring Process
    By Songstad & Randall

    A California court has recently expanded an employer's liability for fraud in connection with representations made during the hiring process. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal went as far as to allow a fraud claim not only by the former employee, but also the former employee's spouse.

    In Meade v. Cedarapids, Inc., several employees were hired by the defendant employer and relocated to its Eugene, Oregon location. During the hiring process, the employer's representatives stated that the company was "ramping up" its Eugene Oregon location and expected continued growth. These statements were apparently untrue as the employer had a contingent plan to close the Eugene, Oregon plant. The employees expressly agreed that their employment was terminable at-will. After the plant closed and the plaintiff employees were terminated, they, together with their spouses, filed suit for fraud.

    The Ninth Circuit determined that the former employees had enough facts to pursue a claim for fraud, even though the plant closure was merely contingent and they had signed an at-will employment agreement. Importantly, the court also upheld the right of the former employees' spouses to also sue for fraud. The court recognized that marriage is a partnership and major decisions such as whether to move to a different city are made by both partners. The court stated that "[o]nly a very foolish employer will try to persuade a prospective employee to relocate without addressing the concerns of the spouse." The Court found that there was sufficient evidence that the spouses would detrimentally rely on the representations at the time they were made.

    Employers must be very careful of statements made in the hiring process, particularly where employees are relocating their residence. An employer not only faces a fraud claim from the former employee, but also his or her spouse thereby greatly increasing the extent of damages.


    Looks very similar to my situation
  12. #12
    kuwagner is offline Junior Member
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    And another ......

    Summer 2000 Newsletter Article
    FRAUDULENT HIRING
    Given today's competition for qualified employees, employers must be careful to highlight all that they have to offer but stop short of making representations that may not materialize after an employee comes on board. What was once usually dismissed as harmless exaggeration by employers increasingly has become the grounds for expensive lawsuits by employees who allege fraud once they realize that everything is not as it was depicted in the hiring process.

    The fraudulent hiring claim is especially significant because some courts have allowed employees to pursue such claims even though, as "at-will employees," they otherwise would have no recourse against their employers. Normally, under the at-will doctrine, an employer can fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all, unless a contract or law limits the employer's power.

    In one recent case, two employees who traveled halfway across the country at their own expense to take jobs that were not as they had been represented were awarded compensation and punitive damages for fraud. The two men had been recruited as divers for offshore oil operations. They were assured that there were plenty of offshore diving jobs available and that, even as trainees, they would "get in the water immediately." The offshore diving jobs did not materialize as promised. A broken promise to do something in the future, like the promises made to the divers, will support a claim for fraud if the promise was made in order to deceive someone, and with no intention of keeping the promise.

    In another case, Karen accepted a job offer as a nurse for a health-care corporation after she asked about the financial health of the company and was told that money for her position had been allocated. One month later, she was part of a large layoff precipitated by a severe financial crisis. The court gave Karen a chance to prove either of two fraud theories. The first was that the statement about money being set aside for her position was false, and that she had relied on it to her detriment. The second theory, called "silent fraud" by the court, was that the employer had a duty to disclose its serious financial troubles, and that it withheld such information to induce Karen to take the job. The company's claim that it was unaware of the gravity of its problems until Karen had reported for work was an issue for a jury to decide.

    A variation on fraudulent hiring occurs when fraud is used to keep an employee from leaving. For example, when a controlling interest in a machinery company was sold to a sister company, Jerome's employer assured him that "absolutely no changes would be made" that could hurt his job security. Jerome stayed, but before long he and some other older employees were subjected to a pay cut and eventually summary dismissal. The court allowed Jerome's claim for fraudulent misrepresentation to go to trial.

    Employers can take steps to reduce their exposure to fraudulent hiring lawsuits. Most of these steps involve close control over the message given to applicants. Interviewers need to be trained so that they do not let a description of the company's attributes turn into "puffery." Using two interviewers at once gives the employer a witness in case of a later dispute over what was said. Communications such as employee manuals, Internet job postings, and written offers of employment should be checked for unintended or unauthorized promises. In some cases, it may be advisable to use a written employment agreement that clearly indicates that its terms supersede any oral statements that may have been made. After-the-fact protection for the employer could come from contract language under which an employee terminated without cause waives the right to sue in exchange for a certain amount of compensation.

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