Rescinded Job Offers In Legal Terms

7 Feb

So, you finally got offered that new job you’ve been working for. It’s across the country, but the company sounds great, the pay is great, and it would be a big step up from your current position. You quit your old job, pack up your things, and move. But then, the day before your new job is to start, you get a call with some bad news: the job offer is being rescinded. Now what?


Nick Corcodilos offers some good advice in his weekly column, “Ask The Headhunter.” Consulting with several attorneys, Corcodilos has some smart suggestions for those who might find themselves in this unfortunate situation.


The first lawyer, Lawrence Barty, says it’s best to consult with an attorney who is familiar with employment law in your state. But in general, Barty says the best thing to do when offered a job is to get it in writing. Ask if there will be a contract forthcoming. If your job offer was made over the phone and no contract is being sent, compose an e-mail detailing your understanding of the employment offer and asking the new employer if there are any corrections that should be made.


“While this approach is not nearly as good as having a signed contract, it still gives the employee some legal maneuvering room,” Barty writes. Of course, there’s always the chance that if an employer then reinstates the offer, they can always make the contract “terminable at will,” which means they can legally fire the employee the next day.


But those who act reasonably on a promise and then “suffers detrimentally because the promise is broken has a cause of action called Promissory Estoppel.” This could potentially entitle the promisee to reliance damages such as lost wages and benefits.


Those who pursue justice on these grounds are certainly not guaranteed to get it, but it’s certainly better than simply standing down because they don’t believe anything can be done. In many cases, companies may provide compensation in the form of a severance check or settlement. Sometimes old jobs will even reinstate employees who quit back into their old positions—and that’s certainly better than finding yourself unemployed these days.



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