At Will Employee Can Not Use “Fraudulent Inducement” Theory Re: Acceptance-of-Employment Offer.
Plaintiff brought a cause of action for “fraudulent inducement” alleging she accepted employment with defendant hospital based on a false claim the hospital had “passed” a survey related to accreditation when, in fact, it had received only a “conditional accreditation status.” The Second Department determined that the fraudulent inducement cause of action must be dismissed because plaintiff was an at-will employee. “The at-will employment doctrine … bars a cause of action sounding in fraudulent inducement, even where the circumstances pertain to a plaintiff’s acceptance of an offer of a position rather than his or her termination …”. The Second Department agreed with the trial court that the breach of contract cause of action should not be dismissed, but the Court dismissed the punitive damages aspect of the breach of contract cause of action because punitive damages do not attach to purely private wrongs. Guido v Orange Regional Medical Center, 2011-08527, Index No. 13123/10 Second Dept. 1-23-13