Billetter v. Posell

94 Cal. App. 2d 858 (1949)

 

RULE:

A discharged employee is not required to accept reemployment from his employer if acceptance would sacrifice his right to claim damages to which he is entitled by reason of a violation of the contract by the employer.

FACTS:

Defendant offered a job to plaintiff, and the parties entered into a written contract. Plaintiff was discharged prior to the end of the contract date. The defendant employer offered her the job back, but at a reduced salary, and she refused. Plaintiff sued to recover the balance owed to her for the remainder of the contract period. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed. The appellate court affirmed.

ISSUE:

Will an employee be able to recover for a breach of contract when the employer offers the employee a different position as mitigation, which the employee does not accept?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

When a person is employed for a definite period of time at an agreed rate of wages and is wrongfully discharged before the expiration of the period for which she was employed, she may refuse her former employer's offer of reemployment at less wages than were stipulated in the original contract of employment when acceptance of such offer would amount to a modification of the original contract or to a waiver of her right to recover according to its terms. Plaintiff was not required to perform the same work for less compensation in mitigation of damages.

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