Do I have a good claim against a company that promised me two years of work and then let me go? How? 6 Answers as of July 10, 2015

I was living and working at a position earning $176,000. I was contacted by an organization about a VP of Sales and Business Development position with a start-up part of their existing non-profit organization. They offered me the job at the same salary as my previous position and verbally stated that I would have "two years to get the business up and running." This statement was made by the President of the company clearly, repeatedly and publicly at the time of my interview and up until two weeks before he decided to shut the division down. I made my decision to relocate based on the promise of two years, as I clearly stated it would take that long to get the business going. The company moved me out here and I rented an apartment and purchased the furnishings expecting to be here for two years. Basically they shut down after only four months. They have stated that it is not because of my lack of skill or abilities. It's simply a budget issue. What can I expect for a settlement? Do I have any legal grounds at all since this was not in writing - although clearly part of a verbal agreement?

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KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
This is really more a contract issue than an employment question. You could assert an oral agreement, and figure what damages resulted from your reliance on that agreement.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 7/10/2015
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
Pennsylvania is a Right-To-Work state and, consequently, employers do not have to have a reason for terminating the employment of an individual. That said, there are cases where an employee might have recourse for a wrongful discharge claim. Such claims against employers have been successful where, as in your case, an employee left a well-paying job, thinking that they would have a certain period of time to develop a particular program for their employer. Your case might be strengthened if you could additionally show that, in reliance upon the representations of the employer, you moved across state lines or to the other end of the state, that you relocated your family as well or that you sold your residence in reliance upon the representations made by your employer. You should speak with an attorney who handles employment cases for plaintiffs.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 7/9/2015
WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
Unless you have a written contract for a specific duration, you have no remedy in Georgia. The type of damages you state are known as "detrimental reliance." You relied on what they promised, to your detriment. This is not a valid action on an employment position in Georgia. In Georgia, you are not entitled to any settlement or separation package, therefore, what ever they do offer is gratuitous. In your salary range, many to-be separated employees use law firms to negotiate the package. I suggest you do that.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/8/2015
Adams, Liming & Hockenberry, LLC
Adams, Liming & Hockenberry, LLC | Sharon Cason-Adams
If you had a written agreement, you have a claim for breach of contract. If you did not have a written agreement, you could pursue a claim arising out of promissory estoppel. In this case, promissory estoppel would apply if you were recruited away from your position based upon a promise of employment. You relied on the promise to your detriment. Damages are usually based upon one year's salary, but in your case you would certainly ask for two.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/8/2015
Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
You should immediately contact an attorney to find out your options and how to best handle your matter. There is no guarantee of settlement or any other outcome.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 7/8/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an employment attorney, you have a probable cause of action but your proofs are somewhat lacking. You will have to prove that your employment was for a promised term and therefore your statements that there are other people who witnessed the premise of two years are critical. Given the nature things, however, sometimes people do not wish to testify because they fear retaliation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/8/2015
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