California Labor Code §970 Lawyer

California Labor Code § 970 – Solicitation of an Employee to Relocate his or her Residence by Knowingly False Misrepresentations

California Labor Code § 970 prohibits employers from influencing or persuading an employee to relocate from one place to another for work, by means of knowingly false misrepresentations regarding:

  • (a) The kind, character, or existence of such work;
  • (b) The length of time such work will last, or the compensation therefor;
  • (c) The sanitary or housing conditions relating to or surrounding the work;
  • (d) The existence or nonexistence of any strike, lockout, or other labor dispute affecting it and pending between the proposed employer and the persons then or last engaged in the performance of the labor for which the employee is sought. Cal. Lab. Code § 970.

For example, let’s suppose that an employer knowingly lies to an employee to induce that employee to move from San Diego to Los Angeles. The employer promises the employee that he/she will be paid $45,000 a year salary to work for his/her company if the employee moves to Los Angeles. However, the employer never intended to pay the $45,000 salary and lowers the employee’s salary to $40,000 after the employee takes the job. Meanwhile, the employee relied on the fact that he/she was promised $45,000 and as a result moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. Two weeks after the employee moved Los Angeles and began working for the company his/her supervisor tells the employee that they will only be paying him/her $40,000 a year. Under this scenario, the employee may be entitled to remedies under California Labor Code § 970.

Another example would be if an employer induces an employee to move from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara by knowingly giving a false misrepresentation about the duration of the work. The employer tells the employee that the work will be for two years. However, the employer knows that he will only need the employee for a specific project that will be finished in just six months. After the employee moves to Santa Barbara and works with the company for just three weeks, the employee is told that in fact he/she will only be needed for six months. This may constitute a violation of California Labor Code § 970 as well.

History

California Labor Code § 970 was originally intended for the purpose of protecting migrant farm workers in California. Often, experienced farm workers were offered higher wages and/or clean housing to induce them to relocate. Many times these employees would turn down other job offers and spend a lot of money to relocate. However, once they would get there, the job would not be anything like what was promised. For example, their wages would be much lower than what was promised and/or the duration of their job would be much shorter. Many times, because these employees had already spent considerable amounts of time and money, they would have no choice but to accept these less favorable terms.

Even though this was first intended to protect farm workers, the statute applies to all types of employees. Unfortunately, this practice of knowingly giving false misrepresentations is common among all types of employers. Many times employers will promise long term positions, when in fact the employer may only need help for the short term or not have sufficient funds to keep the employee for more than just a few months.

Remedies under California Labor Code § 970

If an employer violates California Labor Code § 970, an employee is entitled to remedies under California Labor Code § 971 and California Labor Code § 972. Code § 971 subjects an employer to a fine, or imprisonment, or both. Under Code § 972, an employee may bring a civil action against an employer who violates Section § 970 for double damages that result from such misrepresentations. Such damages may include but are not limited to: moving expenses, rejecting other job offers, and currently being unable to find comparable work.

How Does This Affect Employee’s Rights?

The most common examples of this unlawful practice by employers is to promise higher pay and/or long term employment when in fact they unable or unwilling to provide them. However, an employer may even be liable, under this section, for wrongfully inducing an employee to relocate by promising certain work responsibilities, when in fact the nature of the work will be completely different. In this type of situation, an employee’s professional reputation and/or career path may be damaged. Hence, if an employee relocates based on certain promises by his employer such as the type of work, rate of pay, or length of time, and those promises are not kept by the employer, then the employee may be entitled to relief under this section.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to any of the ones described above, or any other situation where you relocated and shortly after relocating you were terminated, contact the Los Angeles employee lawyers at our office.