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Ohanian v. Avis Rent a Car System

779 F.2d 101 (1985)

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Ohanian v. Avis Rent a Car System

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

779 F.2d 101 (1985)

Facts

Robert Ohanian (plaintiff) began working for Avis Rent a Car System, Inc. (Avis) (defendant) in Boston in 1967. By 1980, Ohanian had been promoted several times and was a successful vice president for sales in Avis’s western region in San Francisco. Ohanian’s superiors wanted him to transfer to Avis’s struggling northeast region because they believed Ohanian was directly responsible for the western region’s success during a difficult economic period. Ohanian was reluctant to transfer because he liked the team he had built in the western region, and his family was happy in San Francisco. Ohanian was also concerned about job security because the economic situation in the northeast was grim. Robert Mahmarian, an Avis general manager, verbally assured Ohanian that unless he “screwed up badly,” there was no way he would be fired, and Ohanian agreed to the transfer. Ohanian completed a form to claim relocation funds Avis had promised him. The form, which Ohanian signed and returned to Avis, included preprinted language indicating that Ohanian understood his employment was at will and could be terminated by him or Avis at any time and that there were no other agreements or understandings between Ohanian and Avis with respect to his relocation and change in position. Ohanian was promoted again several months after he relocated to New York, but he did not like that role and asked to return to his position as vice president of sales for the western region. A month later, Avis discharged Ohanian. Ohanian sued Avis for breach of an alleged oral agreement not to discharge him without cause, and the jury returned a verdict in his favor. Avis appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cardamone, J.)

Dissent (Wyatt, J.)

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