Fight retaliation over 'repair and deduct'

Rent it Right

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 24, 2011

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Even if this is true, however, the viability of the claim depends on what was said at the interview. You don't have an affirmative obligation to blurt out every potentially negative fact immediately after you shake hands.

If, however, you heard statements like, "If I move, my commute will be longer, but living and working here will be worth it," or "I've been a manager at a huge complex that was sold recently; I didn't like having to deal with the 'front office,' and I'm really looking forward to working for a stable, family-owned business," you've practically been asked to confirm the longevity of the current setup.

Failure to respond truthfully to these statements, which house assumptions that you know to be unfounded, may get you perilously close to fraud.

Depending on the law in your state, you may also be courting a violation of a labor law. In California, for example, it's illegal to induce a person to physically move, from without or within the state, based on a misrepresentation concerning the length of the employment (see Labor Code Section 970).

Originally enacted to protect migrant farmworkers who found themselves in California without a job after they had moved in reliance on an employment offer, the law has been applied to protect workers of every stripe.

The ethical part of your question can be answered by considering the question that a judge would ask. Would it be right to withhold information that you suspect the applicant would want to know before deciding whether to take the job? I think you can answer that one yourself, given your stated pride in being a reputable business.

If the applicant turns down the offer after hearing your news, that's unfortunately the cost of doing business -- and sleeping well at night.

Janet Portman is an attorney and managing editor at Nolo. She specializes in landlord/tenant law and is co-author of "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" and "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." She can be reached at

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