Fraudulent Concealment - Employment
Fraudulent concealment in employment is when an employer deliberately conceals an essential term or aspect of employment from a prospective employee.
In order to prove fraudulent concealment, the plaintiff (the person suing) must show several things:
1. The defendant (the person being sued) lied about or concealed an important fact.
2. The defendant had a duty to disclose that fact to the plaintiff.
3. The defendant hid or lied about that fact with the purpose of harming the plaintiff.
4. The plaintiff was unaware of the fact, and would have acted differently if he or she had been aware of it.
5. As a direct result of the fraudulent concealment, the plaintiff suffered some kind of harm.
There are many cases where this can come up. For example, if an employment contract says that employees will not be terminated without cause before a certain date, and the employer plans to eliminate the employees who agreed to the terms shortly after that date, all the elements of fraudulent concealment are met.
Even if there is no special duty to disclose facts, the defendant may have a duty to disclose them if he or she discloses facts which need to be qualified. For example, if an employer says to an employee “I will not let you go unless you fail to perform, or you need to be laid off for financial reasons” and knows that the company’s situation is such that the employee’s position will be eliminated soon, the employer would probably have a duty to disclose that fact.
While the employer is telling the literal truth, he or she is effectively lying by omission, which is fraudulent concealment.
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Last Modified: 08-06-2012 04:33 PM PDT