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Employee can prevail on a detrimental reliance theory where the employer made a clear and unambiguous promise and the employer made no applicable disclaimers.

April 1, 2010
Harris v. Noveon, Inc., 2010-Ohio-674, 2010 Ohio App. LEXIS 554 (8th App. Dist. Feb. 25, 2010)

Most Ohio promissory estoppel and fraud claims brought by employees against employers have foundered on the element of detrimental reliance ever since the Ohio Supreme Court established strict guidelines for establishing detrimental reliance in Wing v. Anchor Media Ltd. of Texas, 59 Ohio St.3d 108 (1991). In the present case, however, the Eighth District Court of Appeals considered a fact situation in which all of the Wing requirements had been met. Specifically, the employer had made a clear, unambiguous, and definite promise of an uncapped bonus, and the employer had made no disclaimers that would have negated that promise. Therefore, the Eighth District affirmed a jury verdict and judgment in favor of the employee in the amount of $265,104.33 in compensatory damages and $1.00 in punitive damages.

Case Law Alert - 2nd Qtr 2010

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