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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I need to verify if I have a case for detrimental reliance.

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I need to verify if I have a case for detrimental reliance. I was offered a job with the LosAngeles County of Education as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I quit my current job after accepting the offer from the county. I was sent information from the county via email to speed up the processing. I filled out the information and it was verified that the information was received. Prior to appearing for the final process, I verified that some of my information was already in the system. On the day I appeared to finalize my paperwork, I was given a Live Scan for the DOJ. I still have the paperwork with the assigned billing #. We also discussed if I wanted direct deposit and was given the paperwork. When it was time to review the salary schedule, the person who was in charge indicated that she was not aware that I had in fact, worked for the county (This fact was clearly indicated on my letter of intent, application, and resume). After a very brief review with the Director of HR, the offer was rescinded. I requested that I be allowed to review my personnel file, and almost 2 weeks later I was allowed to review the file. I have an EXCELLENT evaluation that was given to me 1 month prior to my separating from the county in 2009. I beleive that I have a case for detrimental reliance. I was offered a job by the county and accepted. Based upon this oral agreement, which was followed up by paperwork, I quit my current job. I relied on the county to follow up on their good faith offer and as a result, I am unemployed. My former job position has been filled. My field is very specialized and currently, I am unable to find another position in the state of CA. I think I am entitled to a fair remedy. PLEASE help. Janice
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am terribly sorry to hear that your employment offer was rescinded and that you now find yourself unemployed.

In general, the elements for a claim of promissory estoppel/detrimental reliance are the following:

1) a promise reasonably expected by the promissor to induce action or forbearance,
2) action or forbearance by the promisee in justifiable reliance on the promise (i.e. “detrimental reliance”), and
3) injustice can be avoided only through enforcement of the promise.

These elements would appear to be present under the facts you have described because it was reasonably foreseeable and indeed necessary that you would quit your former position prior to accepting this job, andthis has resulted in a substantial injustice (you being unemployed for no reason other than to accept a job that was taken from you without good cause).

While an individual in your circumstance likely cannot compel the county or your former employer to re-hire you, you very well may be entitled to lost wages from your former position, which you quit in reliance on this new offer. In the 2004 case of Tuscano v. Greene, the court permitted exactly that, stating:

"We hold a plaintiff's lost future wages from the former at-will employer are recoverable under a promissory estoppel theory as long as they are not speculative or remote, and are supported by substantial evidence."

You can read the entire case here:

Although this sort of claim can be pursued on your own, you would benefit greatly from the representation of a local employment law attorney. For attorney referrals, visit this link: or visit I particularly like Martin Dale because the site allows you to search attorneys by practice area and also provides attorney ratings.

When you contact the attorneys, ask if they offer free consultations. Most should, and this way you can get at least some feel for the attorney's expertise and enthusiasm for your particular case before you commit. Also, you will probably want an attorney who is willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis--this means that you won't have to pay for their services until you win, and if you don't win, you won't have to pay them any attorney fee.

Again, I am very sorry about your situation, but I hope that you find the above information to be helpful.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
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