Liability on Job Offer Pulled

We have a situation where a job offer was made, the candidate put in their 30 day notice at the other job, we're at the 11th hour and executive management has asked put the new hire on hold, as they are looking at the overall organization picture to assess whether the position is actually needed now. The question is, because the candidate put in their 30 day notice, leaving their current job for what was to be their new position with our organization, and now that position is in question, is there any liability risk by pulling the job offer, as they wouldn't have the new job OR their old position? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!



  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • If the new position is at-will, I doubt you would have liability. As an at-will employee, you could fire him the first day on the job. If you made a commitment for a definite period of employment, you may have some liability. However, you do want to check with an attorney.

    I would inform him immediately so he can rescind his resignation at his current employer and, hopefully, retain that job. If he incurred costs such as relocation expenses, etc., you should consider reimbursing him.
  • Thank you for the feedback. My gut was telling those same things, but validation is an awesome thing! We are an 'at-will' employer, it is an 'at-will' position, and no contract terms or specific periods of time were offered. They work locally, so there is no relocation expenses. Thanks again!!!
  • Did you send him an offer letter?

    Even if you didn't, he still may sue for breach of contract or covenant of good faith and fair dealing, especially if he suffers financial loss because he relied on your company to follow though with its offer of employment. For example, if it's so late in the hiring process that he's resigned his current position and they can't or won't let him stay and he's out of work and suffers financial hardship.

    Which brings up another issue - public relations. Does your company want to become known as an employer that pulls the rug out from under new hires? If your company fails to hire him, you may have recruiting issues down the road.

    I don't mean to be a Negative Nellie but there is often more to these decisions that it looks like on the surface. So, if I were in your shoes, I'd seek qualified legal counsel before rescinding an offer of employment, particularly if it's late in the process.

  • I'm glad someone else said this, Sharon. I didn't want to be the bleeding heart, but I'd be screaming all the way into the CEO's office if I was asked to rescind this offer. It's not how you treat people - whether they've arrived for their first day or not. Your active employees will know about this, and it will become one more factor in how they view your company and its culture.
  • Thanks for the additional feedback. There was no offer letter sent, and not sure how well communicated this process went between the owner and the supervisor, but it was the owner that pumped the brakes on this deal. It's an unfolding story that we hope to have all the facts together by end of the week. We definitely do not want to be known as an employer that operates in such a manner, and thankfully this situation has been handled behind the scenes and the details are not known among the employees. Ultimately it is a communication issue that should straighten itself out once the owner and supervisor meet this week. Definitely lots more to the story.
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