Law School Case Brief
Hanson v. Cent. Show Printing Co. - 256 Iowa 1221, 130 N.W.2d 654 (1964)
In the absence of additional express or implied stipulation as to the duration of the employment or of a good consideration additional to the services contracted to be rendered, a contract for permanent employment, for life employment, for as long as the employee chooses, or for other terms purporting permanent employment, is no more than an indefinite general hiring terminable at the will of either party.The giving up of the opportunity to take other employment cannot be held to be an additional consideration.
The employee had been working for the employer for many years when he was offered a position with another company. After some negotiations, the employer promised to hire the employee until he retired of his own choosing. Two years later the employer discharged the employee without cause. The employee brought a breach of employment contract action, but the trial court granted the employer's motion for a peremptory verdict. The employee appealed.
Did the employer breach its contract with the employee?
The court affirmed that the trial court correctly granted the employer's motion for a peremptory verdict, dismissing the employee's breach of employment contract action. The court held that the employer's promise to hire the employee for as long as the employee chose, absent additional consideration, created an employment contract that was terminable at the will of either party. The court determined that the employee's forbearance from taking other employment was not sufficient consideration to establish a contract for permanent employment.
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