If I’ve worked for a national company for 15 years but was never informed that promotions were based on having a college degree, do I have a claim for fraud?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I’ve worked for a national company for 15 years but was never informed that promotions were based on having a college degree, do I have a claim for fraud?

I was offered the opportunity to interview for a promotion. The company flew me out for the interview, which went well. They called later to tell me I got the job and that HR would be getting in touch with me to finalize things. Then HR found out I do not have my college degree and denied the promotion based on that fact. Why did they fly me out to interview knowing I didn’t have my degree if that was a requirement? Why was I verbally offered the job if it was not an option? Why have I been working for a company that has never once said if I did not have a degree there is no upward mobility? I would never have stayed with the company if it was a policy.

Asked on October 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Fraud based on what? Did your employer ever misrepresent the eligibility requirements for obtainig a promotion? Were others promoted who did not have a degree? The fact is that unless you were afforded protection under company policy, a union agreement or employment contract, you have no claim here. Also, the denial of your promotion cannot be based on any form of actionable discrimination or retaliation.
What most workers fail to recognize is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that an employer can set the terms and condition of employment much as it sees fit or deems necessary. For their part, an employee can either comply with the work conditions, quit or attempt to fight them and risk termination.

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