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Geosource Case Study

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A few employees have tried to get around the at-will employment contract by claiming fraud, bad faith, or some similar theory. With two exceptions, they have all lost. In both of the exceptions, a court recognized a promissory estoppel claim against the employer. The first exception is Roberts v. Geosource Drilling Services, Inc., 757 S.W.2d 48 (Tex. App. -- Houston [1st Dist.] 1988, no writ). In that case, Geosource hired Roberts to work on an offshore project. Roberts signed a written contract with Geosource, though the contract provided for employment at will. Relying on oral promises and the written agreement, Roberts quit his current job and prepared to go to work for Geosource. A few days later, Geosource called him and told him…show more content…
It is no answer that the parties' written contract was for an employment-at-will, where the employer foreseeably and intentionally induces the prospective employee to materially change his position to his expense and detriment, and then repudiates its obligations before the written contract begins to operate. Several other courts have rejected Roberts or have found ways to distinguish it. No court has followed Roberts. It is not clear whether any court will follow Roberts in the future, but as of now it remains good law. The second exception is Hernandez v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., 496 F. Supp. 2d 778 (W.D. Tex. 2007). The facts of that case are essentially the same as Roberts, except that the employee had actually moved from Illinois to El Paso based on the promise of employment. Apparently, the only damages that the plaintiff sought were his travel and moving expenses. The federal district court noted the conflict between Roberts and the other Texas state court cases, but declined to resolve the conflict: The Court recognizes that a split exists between Texas state appellate courts, and declines to opine on that
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