Can a recruiting firm refuse to place you in a new position because they have a contract with your current employer?

I contacted a recruiter to find a new position and, after notifying me of finding
a good match, asked me if I was working full time or as a contractor in my
current role. After learning I wasn’t a contractor, they refused to move me to a
different job because my company is one of their main accounts.

I realize they probably have a contract with my employer but it still seems shady
to me to refuse helping me find another job. The recruiter said I could quit my
job and then he could help me but I’m not going to risk that.

I also realize a lawsuit wouldn’t be worth it since they probably wouldn’t want
to place me anywhere after a legal battle but is it legal to begin with? Thank
you very much

Asked on May 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal UNLESS the terms of any contact you may have signed with the recruiter prevents this. Other than as perhaps set forth in a contract, there is no right to be hired and no right to have someone's assistance in placing you--a recruiter may refuse to place you in a job which they feel represents a conflict for them (or possibly even violates their contract with their client--and if it would violate their contract with their own client, they may *not* help you get the new position).  Remember: employment--including hiring--is "employment at will": there is no right to a new or different job, except as in a contact.

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