A recent California Court of Appeal decision confirms that a California employer may be liable to an at-will employee who relocates to accept a new employment position, when the employer’s description of the kind or character of the job was misleading. In the case Kenneth Allen White v. Smule, Inc., the Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision to grant summary judgment in
The plaintiff was an Australian citizen working as an associate attorney for the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP on a work visa. In October 2009, Paramount extended to her a conditional offer of employment to serve as its Vice President, IT Legal, the offer being contingent upon the completion of a background investigation to Paramount’s satisfaction and the successful transfer of her work visa. The conditional offer indicated that a separate employment agreement would follow. When the plaintiff countersigned the conditional offer letter in late October, she told Paramount, for the first time, that she would not be able to start work until January 2010 because of a previously undisclosed secondment to a client of O’Melveny and because she needed to travel to Australia during the first week of January.