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Hanson v. Cent. Show Printing Co. - 256 Iowa 1221, 130 N.W.2d 654 (1964)

Rule:

In the absence of a consideration in addition to the services to be rendered, contracts for permanent employment are indefinite hirings, 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.

Facts:

Harry Hanson had been working for Central Show Printing Company, Inc. (Central Show) for many years when he was offered a position with Stoyles Printing Company (Stoyles). After some negotiations, Central Show promised to hire Hanson full-time until he retired at a later date of his own choosing, if Hanson were to stay with Central Show. Two years later, Central Show discharged Hanson without cause. Hanson brought a breach of employment contract action, but the trial court granted Central Show’s motion for a peremptory verdict.

Issue:

Did Central Show’s promise to hire Hanson for as long as the latter chose, absent additional consideration, create a permanent employment contract between the parties?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The court held that Central Show’s promise to hire Hanson for as long as the latter chose, absent additional consideration, created an employment contract that was terminable at the will of either party. The court determined that Hanson’s forbearance from taking other employment was not sufficient consideration to establish a contract for permanent employment.

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