Jobsandcareer.com organizes the most comprehensive job and career advice/news.
A federal jury recently awarded a former Seagate Technology engineer $1.9 million on his claim that he
was wrongfully “hired” by the company.
The case, Vaidyanathan v. Seagate U.S. LLC, No. CV-09-1212 (D. Minn. Nov. 19, 2010), highlights two
valuable considerations for employers:
(1) location, location,location – where an employer conducts its business may play the determinative
role in a case’s nature and outcome; and
(2) the importance of good employee relations practices, including well-documented and
well-supported reasons for hiring, disciplining and terminating every employee.
In his lawsuit, Chandramouli Vaidyanathan alleged that after being offered an engineer position with
Seagate in November 2007, he left his job with Texas Instruments in Dallas and moved his entire family
to snowy Minnesota. Nine months later, Vaidyanathan was laid off. Vaidyanathan alleged that Seagate
knew that the position for which he was hired did not actually exist, but falsely represented that it did so
in order to use Vaidyanathan’s credentials to better market one of its divisions to be sold to another
company. Based on this, Vaidyanathan claimed that he was wrongfully hired, in violation of a rather
obscure Minnesota statute – which was enacted in 1913 – entitled “False Statements as Inducement to
Entering Employment.” Vaidyanathan’s case went to trial and the jury agreed with him, to the tune of
The Minnesota statute prohibits businesses from knowingly inducing individuals to come to the state for
work through false representations. As for penalties, the statute provides for the recovery of past and
future economic damages as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The statute is unusual in the sense that
anti-discrimination laws typically prohibit the failure to hire someone, as well as the wrongful discipline
or termination of employees, based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age or disability.
The Minnesota statute, however, essentially penalizes employers for actually hiring someone and then
employing and paying that person for a substantial period of time,...