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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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1. Current employer agreed to buy out my contract from old

Resolved Question:

1. Current employer agreed to buy out my contract from old employer ($47K). I have this documented in writing (e-mail) by two Vice Presidents and the CEO was aware.
2. Upon leaving old employer for new I received the final paperwork for the buyout and it was more than anticipated however there was never any mention of an amount by the new employer (the figure initially thought was 35K and it turned out to be 47K).
3. This was all brought to my attention after I started work for the company and had already received a paycheck.
4. The company now wants to re-negotiate my salary, bonus, and buyout terms.
5. What are my options.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I need a bit more information from you before I can proceed to provide you with a complete and thorough answer to your question.

Can you tell me what was said in the email? Also, do you have any signed statement from them (in the paperwork agreeing to pay you $47,000?)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The e-mails that were sent to me by two VP's of the company said, "Tony, this email is to confirm that (company) will buy out your current obligation to (previous company). The offer below still stands as written". The second email from the VP/Chief of staff reads "May I please have the details of this? (Our Company) will buy out your current obligation to (Current Company).

I do not have anything signed because we are a virtual company, One VP lives in Atlanta, the VP that lives in Houston has auto-signed her e-mails.

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Anthony,

No amount was ever mentioned though? What was the 'below offer' that was written?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Correct, no amount was ever written in the e-mails. The "below offer" refers to salary, stocks, vacation, care, internet, phone allowance, and 401K. That was a separate e-mail. I asked the VP to send me an e-mail that confirms that they would buy out my current contract and he daisy chained from the original offer e-mail

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Anthony,

Was there an agreement as to salary and bonus?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.



Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Anthony,

Thanks for the additional information. I'll look into this and get back to you shortly.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


FYI, I'm not sure if you need to know but I have been working for current employer since Sept 23rd and have received a paycheck. Additionally, I completed I-9 verification and W-4 paperwork as a condition to employment.

How long do you think it will take to here back from you? If it is going to be a while I have some other work I need to take care of...Thanks

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
I want to look into your options here, so it may be a bit.

Can you clarify what you mean by "it was more than anticipated however there was never any mention of an amount by the new employer"?

What was more than anticipated?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I relocated with former employer (x) from Florida to Ca. The former employer agreed to cover my moving expenses in return for a 2 year commitment. The commitment buyout decreases 1/24th for every month that I was with the company. I was with company X for 12 months therefore I new that the buyout would be 50% of the total however I did not have an exact number to give to company (y) because company (x) would provide it upon termination. Therefor the only documentation that I could provide was an Itemization from company (x) for 2012 tax purposes (68K). I also told current employer (in e-mail) that this was not the final number and that would be provided by company (x) upon termination. All expenses for the move had not been added into the 2012 document therefore their was an increase that added an additional 12K in to the final buyout amount.

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Anthony,

Below are some options:


Sue your current employer for breach of contract (promissory estoppel) for failing to buy you out completely from your contract (if that is what they decide) despite the written representations made to you by both Vice Presidents.

The arguments would be that 1) they created a contract by getting you to work for them in exchange for the full buy out of your previous contract and 2) due to their representations you detrimentally relied on their previous representations, going to work for them and leaving your old employer as well as giving up on other potential opportunities you may have had.

2) Work with them on a compromise, as it appears that they relied on the $35,000 figure in making their initial guarantee (which is likely why they are 'blaming you' despite your representation that it was not a final number you were giving them). Honestly this is probably the better option, since it seems like an inauspicious beginning to an employment relationship to sue your employer for breach of contract/ promissory estoppel.

It's hard to tell though what the better option is since you haven't heard back about what they want to renegotiate with you, or what their proposal will be now that they know the buyout will be $47k and not $35.

I realize the above information is not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!


Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I agree that a compromise is the best option however I'm afraid they may ask for more than what I am willing to give. If this turns into a lawsuit a I feel that I would be terminated because employment is "at-will". Is it feasible to ask for them to cover attorney's fees in the suite? In addition, to the 47K what monetary amount is realistic (salary, undue stress, and so forth). I have never sued anyone and I do not know what is realistic. I would prefer not to file a suite but I also want to know all my options so I can make an informed decision. Also would I potentially spend more suing than what I would gain from a judgment?

Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello Anthony,

Honestly, it's very unlikely that they will cover your attorney's fees at this point if you state that you are going to sue them.

It's hard to estimate what a realistic amount for a lawsuit would be. It depends on what a reasonable amount for loss salary would be (minus your reasonable efforts to find a replacement job). You may also receive an amount for punitive damages, but this is typically not the case that would results in recovery for 'undue stress' or pain and suffering.

I don't think you'd be looking at much more than $100,000 or so as a recovery and that's not a guarantee. So it is definitely a possible you could spend more in suing than you could ultimately receive.

I would definitely suggest that you instead try to work with them, since it could also cost you tens of thousands in attorneys fees and months if not years to get a settlement or a verdict.

In the long run, it would probably be best if you reached a compromise instead if at all possible.
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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