Citing the “At Will Employment” Rule, Court Affirms the Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Fraudulent Inducement Claim

In Coyle v. College of Westchester, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 07699, 2018 NY Slip Op 07699 (App. Div. 2d Dept. Nov. 14, 2014), the court – in addition to affirming the dismissal of plaintiff’s Labor Law § 740 cause of action – also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s “fraudulent inducement” claim.

The court summarized the well-established, current state of the law:

[A]bsent a constitutionally impermissible purpose, a statutory proscription, or an express limitation in the individual contract of employment, an employer’s right at any time to terminate an employment at will remains unimpaired, and the Court of Appeals has repeatedly refused to recognize exceptions to, or pathways around, these principles[.] … Hence, as a general rule, at-will employees may not claim that they were [*3]induced to accept their position based on the belief that they would enjoy continued employment …, even where the circumstances pertain to a plaintiff’s acceptance of an offer of a position rather than his or her termination[.]

Applying the law, the court held that “[s[ince the plaintiff failed to allege any injury independent of termination of her employment, she cannot recover damages for what is, at most, an alleged breach of contract in the guise of a tort[.]”

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