Promissory Estoppel and Employment Law in Massachusetts
There is a concept in the common law called "promissory estoppel," under which a promise can be enforced if it caused you to reasonably rely upon it to your detriment, and under the circumstances it was reasonable to expect you would rely on it.
On its face, this sounds like it would cover many situations where an employer promised certain terms and conditions of employment, the employee left another job or forewent other opportunities in reliance, only to find the circumstances changed when they begin employment.
This is potentially available as a claim, but be aware that it is only applied in very limited situations. This is because courts have frequently held that the "at will" nature of most employment relationships means things can be changed at any time. For this reason, it is often determined that any reliance on the employer's promises was not reasonable.
There are exceptions to this, and you should contact an employment lawyer if you believe this claim applies to you.
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