Is it legal for an organization to hire an employee without letting said employee know that their position is funded by ‘soft’ money coming from an outside source?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for an organization to hire an employee without letting said employee know that their position is funded by ‘soft’ money coming from an outside source?


Thank you for taking the time to read my question. I just received a lay off notice from my employer – a wealthy school district in Northern California. My former employer has justified the lay off by claiming that reduced funding by outside organizations resulted in decreased income to fund certain positions in the school district. Up until the time that said lay off notice was received, I was under the impression that my employment was funded by the school district budget. It was a huge surprise to find out that my position was in fact 100 funded by an outside organization and basically leaving me at the mercy of that organization’s funding choices. However, information about the funding source for my position and the possible ramifications that a decrease in outside funding might have on my position were never disclosed to me.
So, my question here is, would I have a legal case against my former school district whereby I claim that the circumstances surrounding funding for my position were not disclosed to me properly, thus robbing me of the choice to make an informed decision about whether or not I would accept a position under such circumstances.
Thanks again for reading my question. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. JD

Asked on June 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have a legal case against your former employer. You only have a legal claim if someone violates a legal duty of theirs; but 1) there is no duty to disclose the funding source or certainty or likely duration of a job to employees; and 2) there is no obligation to only use "permanent" or certain funding for jobs. In addition, all employment is employment at will (unless you had a written employment contract to the contrary): you may be terminated at any time, for any reason, without prior notice or warning. For all these reasons, what was done is perfectly legal; and you cannot sue when someone does what they legally may do.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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