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10/07/10
Two offers. Legal considerations when offer is rejected
Filed under: Networking, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:05 pm

This blog entry is a continuation of a previous
negotiation where a member has received two
offers.  See the factors in negotiation  1  .

He has decided to reject the previous offer.
So, he accepted the second offer first and
arranged a househunting trip the week before
starting.

SITUATION
Email:  “Dear Dan,

I would like to tell you that I arrived yesterday

in … to start working for H… beginning October 11.
I am currently looking for apartments here.”

“I also thought to update you with the situation
that might arise in future related to previous
company Es….”   I turned them down a week
ago.  “They seemed to be angry.”

“Yesterday, I received email from the Es…
manager saying:

You may want to prepare for a breech of implicit contract
and damages suit.”

“I did not sign any contract with them except
company application form and acceptance email.

The application form indicated that the employment
is “at will”.”

“This new situation might arise has made me worried.

“I need your advice and suggestion to avoid breach
of implicit contract and damages suit.”


DISCUSSION

It does not appear that an enforceable contract exists
between the two parties.  Nonetheless, I reached out
to several employment attorneys for their input,
Asking:

Should I tell the new company that I might have a
“complication?”

Should I respond to that email?

Should I hire an employment attorney?

In short, he should not have to inform his new employer.
There is only a need to respond in some manner, if
you feel you are being harassed.  In that case, you
may request an attorney to draft a “cease and desist”
letter, as one attorney recommended.
Pleased read the following comments for more
comprehensive legal advice.
[See also 2  .]

3 Responses to “Two offers. Legal considerations when offer is rejected”

  1. site admin Says:


    Legal Comments from Al Sklover:

    “Dan, what has happened here is the “other side
    of the coin” from what usually happens. More
    commonly, it is the employer that changes its
    mind after the employee resigned from his or
    her previous job, but before the employee starts
    the new job, leaving the employee “high and
    dry,” and without any job at all.

    “At will” means that either the employer or
    the employee can terminate the job at any
    time, for any lawful reason. The employer or
    the employee can even end the job one minute
    after it started, or even one minute before it
    started. Because neither the employer nor the
    employee can, therefore, have any reasonable
    expectation of a lasting relation, the courts in
    almost all cases say that there is no breach of
    contract, of any kind. Since there was never a
    commitment, there never could have been a
    breach of a commitment, which is what “breach
    of contract” is all about.

    Your almost-employer is obviously upset. Maybe
    he turned down other applicants. Maybe he
    promised someone that you would be there to
    perform some services. Maybe he fired someone
    because he knew you were arriving. No matter what
    he did, he did it at his own risk, and without any
    legal right against you.

    The law is clearly on your side here.

    But that does not mean that the company manager
    might not act like a jerk and do something stupid.
    Who knows? Even though he has no “case,” he
    still might try to sue you out of spite or the
    misguidance of a dishonest or ignorant lawyer who
    has convinced him he does have a case.

    I would not recommend telling your new employer
    anything about this. It is not their business, not
    relevant, and not likely to come to their attention.
     
    While you might consider asking an attorney to
    send your almost-employer a letter, it’s my guess
    that the company manager was just letting off
    steam, and that this will likely blow over. It’s like
    going on a date, and having your date stand you
    up: sure it’s upsetting, but not something that is
    likely to have long-lasting consequences. You
    might consider asking an attorney for a letter,
    directing this man to refrain from contacting you,
    or saying or writing anything negative about you.

    This is commonly called a “cease and desist” letter.

    You might also consider sending him an email
    expressing your sorrow for any inconvenience
    you may have caused. Just don’t “admit” anything
    wrong, and whatever you do, don’t tell him where
    you will be working. My honest expectation is that
    this will resolve itself. … Best, Al Sklover
  2. site admin Says:


    Legal Comments:
    E. Brandenburg

    “Dan,
    Short answer. There was no contract, so not
    enforceable. Accepting an employment offer
    where both parties have the option to end the
    employment at any time should not result in
    any valid claim.

    This assumes there was no signing bonus that
    was already paid.

    Furthermore, employment contracts are generally
    not enforceable against the average Joe. For
    movie stars, “yes”, but a young engineer, “no”.
    The person has to have some really unique skills
    or talent or knowledge. Ed
  3. site admin Says:


    Additional Follow-up from from the hiring company’s
    perspective:

    This Q&A  1   deals with HR department offering a
    package to a qualified candidate. Then, about a week
    before starting the selected individual rejects the offer,
    despite agreeing to start.

    With the current situation of hiring, this seems to be
    happening this note says. Although this story is
    pertinent and supports our other findings, members
    should be cautious in knowing the verity of the
    source of the legal advice.

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