Texas High Court: Bosses Can Lie to Workers

Judges side with DuPont chemical co.

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2014 6:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Employees in Texas, take note: Your boss can lie about your future in the company and get away with it, Main Street reports. A Texas Supreme Court ruling supports the way E.I. du Pont de Nemours (known as DuPont) apparently let go of workers—by getting them to join a wholly owned subsidiary and then selling it off. A lawsuit by ex-employees claims DuPont was secretly negotiating the sale at the same time it promised to keep the subsidiary. Koch Industries soon bought it and reduced the workers' retirement plans and salaries. "The Texas Supreme Court sees no problem with any of this," says Main Street.

Why not? Because these are "at-will" employees who can legally be dismissed anytime for whatever reason, without warning. Per the high court, that justified any lies about DuPont workers' future employment. Note that the alleged scheme saved DuPont money, for the workers (many of whom were unionized) would have transferred within the company if they knew the subsidiary's real future. That would have cost DuPont in retraining and rehiring to replace them; even laying them off would have cost money, Lexology notes. The high court's ruling—that at-will workers can't bring a fraud claim over job loss—returns the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for "a final analysis," says Lexology. (Suspicious employees might want to check the temperature of their boss's nose.)

  (Shutterstock)
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