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Gordon v. Matthew Bender & Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
562 F. Supp. 1286 (N.D. Ill. 1983)


Facts

Joel Gordon (plaintiff) was hired as a law-book sales representative for Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. (MB Co.) (defendant). Gordon’s employment agreement did not indicate the duration of the employment period. Although Gordon initially met or exceeded his sales goals, he later received a letter from MB Co. placing him on probationary status. This letter informed Gordon that he would be restored to the same status of acceptable sales performance if he met his sales goals. When Gordon failed to meet his sales goals, MB Co. terminated his employment. Gordon sued MB Co. for breach of his employment contract. Gordon alleged that the probationary letter transformed his at-will contract into a contract for continuous employment based on acceptable sales performance. Gordon claimed that the termination was a breach of his contract because his performance had been acceptable. MB Co. moved to dismiss on the ground that Gordon’s employment was at will.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hart, J.)

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