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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38901
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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was working as an operator (wastewater) in california when

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was working as an operator (wastewater) in california when the manager asked me to take over for him, signed a contract that if the board of directors did not like my job performance as manager I would go back to my former duties as operator, after 6 years as manager, directing and completing a 10million project the board said they no longer wanted me as manager and refused to honor the original contract, they gave me the choice of signing a new contract or be let go, as all citys and countys were laying off people I signed it>>six months later they fired me for not doing the new managers job

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
is there any course of action I can take
In order to enforce your original contract, you would have to legally "rescind" (cancel) the second contract that you signed.

Under Civil Code 1689(b), A party to a contract may rescind the contract in the following cases:

  • (1) If the consent of the party rescinding, or of any party jointly contracting with him, was given by mistake, or obtained through duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence, exercised by or with the connivance of the party as to whom he rescinds, or of any other party to the contract jointly interested with such party.
  • (2) If the consideration for the obligation of the rescinding party fails, in whole or in part, through the fault of the party as to whom he rescinds.
  • (3) If the consideration for the obligation of the rescinding party becomes entirely void from any cause.
  • (4) If the consideration for the obligation of the rescinding party, before it is rendered to him, fails in a material respect from any cause.
  • (5) If the contract is unlawful for causes which do not appear in its terms or conditions, and the parties are not equally at fault.
  • (6) If the public interest will be prejudiced by permitting the contract to stand.
  • (7) Under the circumstances provided for in Sections 39, 1533, 1566, 1785, 1789, 1930 and 2314 of this code, Section 2470 of the Corporations Code, Sections 331, 338, 359, 447, 1904 and 2030 of the Insurance Code or any other statute providing for rescission.

Subsection (1) and (6) may be available option for your facts. You would have to sue, claiming that you were deceived into believing that you did not have rights in your contract that you actually had, and that by providing you advice as to your rights, the employer engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, created a conflict of interest and incurred a duty of loyalty to act in your best interests.

The catch with all of this is that if it has been more than 6 months since you were damaged by the government employer's acts, you may be barred by the statute of limitations from filing suit against a public agency. There are exceptions that extend the statute of limitations to 12 months, but I can't promise that you fall within the exceptions.

The agency may defend that you signed the new contract, worked according to its provisions, and that you should be "estopped" (prevented) by your actions from coming back and complaining, simply because your employment wasn't maintained. The agency can also defend on grounds that rescission is impossible where the parties cannot be returned to the position at the time of contract making, and that the state cannot "return" your six months of labor.

The former defense is pretty good, the latter, I think can be overcome. All said, you have a pretty high uphill climb -- certainly no slam dunk case here.

If you wish to pursue this further, then for a reputable government claims lawyer referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.

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