Can I sue a person for don't fulfill his promise? Sorry for the long story.

We are "friends" from long time ago maybe from 2010. He started his own small business 4 or 5 years ago and sometimes asked me for advice. He usually do services to small business, but recently he got a good proposition to set up a deal with a medium company. So, again he call me asking questions and requesting my knowledge. We meet twice to work together to solve his questions and do some paper work as a proposal of price and the total cost or value of that deal, also I calculated the real cost of his work and what profit he could get working with one employee. He ended paying me whatever he wants for this 2 occasions because I have never set up a price for my services, and for some reason I didn't care helping him for 2 or 4 hours.

So, finally he got that deal and started to working for that company but soon his worker-aide announced he will let the job on Friday of the last week of Nov. My friend mentioned that situation to me and also told me that nobody he asked wanted that job. -I believe he proposed less salary that he really could pay- As I knew how much his aide could get for salary, and after I talked with my husband and put my girls on a rush schedule and more important after I talked with my friend telling him why I need this job (to renew my green card, pay a credit card, get a cell phone, etc...and I evaluated all the changes I have to do, I came to the idea that I can work with him and want and need that job at least for the time he knows he needs someone -from Dec/3 to Jan/26. We talked the week before and once I said yes, I can work the whole time, he promises me the job as his aide.

He accepted me as his employee and we worked together for only the first week of that time. During that week -specifically last week, dec 3 to dec 7, I had worked really hard doing everything he asked me to do and I was counting with this income for the 2 months - it could be almost 3'850 to 4'000 usd- that money could be very convenient for cover my urgent needs. He paid me fairly well that week -even when he mentioned before he will pay me per hour instead of per work done, but let me down telling me I can't work anymore.

We don't signed a contractual agreement and he don't pay me with a check, he paid me in cash. When he paid me and told me I can't work any more, he said was because he has other employee -a man- who was working with him at night but was asking more hours of work per week. Also my friend said we can't work anymore together because he has a family and he doesn't want they know he is working with a woman because he has this kind of problems=affairs. We had an affair before but I let him know I just want the job, and it was what I was doing. He also sold me that idea that I could be his account person and that I have a lot of ideas that he appreciated, he said I could be the person who help him and support his business, kind of his right hand. I wrote back to him last Saturday asking for at least get 2 days of work per week, or get the job as his account and he is not answering me.

I am depress and disappointed because I trusted on him and I was counting with this job and its income. I could reach to several of witness that could confirm I have worked with him last week. And I have also some texts we exchange at that time, and I have too the paper work I did for getting him this deal.

Please help me? Thank you in advance; EDW

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    Promises are not legally enforceable unless there is a consideration from the promisee. He promised you job, but what did you give in return for that promise? – Greendrake Dec 10 '18 at 23:17
  • "We are 'friends' from long time ago maybe from 2010" ... "We had an affair before." Do you mean your affair was from 2010, significantly before your business relationship? – Brandin Dec 11 '18 at 5:35

In most US stats, including California, employment is presumed to be "at will" unless there is a specific contract providing otherwise. The question does not describe such a contract, and says that no written contract of employment was signed.

That means that he can fire you at any time, for any reason, except for q few specific prohibited reasons, such as refusing to participate in a crime.

He promises were not a contract, not even an oral one, if nothing was exchanged for them, and so they are not enforceable. Even if there had been an oral contract, it would be very hard to prove.

There may be a moral responsibility to honor such a promise, but not a legal duty. Oh the situation as described in the question, there is no way to require him to continue the employment.


Employment is "at-will" in California, but you may be the victim of illegal sex discrimination. Can you establish that your friend told you that he can't work with a woman? I don't think "doesn't tempt the owner into a possible affair" or "doesn't make the owner's wife suspicious" is a bona fide occupational requirement.

This sort of thing can, unfortunately, be impossible to prove.

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    The business may be able to discriminate because the op openly admits: "We had an affair before but I let him know I just want the job, and it was what I was doing." – Ron Beyer Dec 11 '18 at 0:26
  • @RonBeyer I don't know California discrimination law, but it seems to be pretty comprehensive. If I wanted to pursue this, I'd talk to a lawyer. – David Thornley Dec 11 '18 at 16:20

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