What are my rights if my employer took back a job offer?

I was officially offered a management position through email that was contingent on passing a

background and drug test. I passed both and started work. My first week I was told to drive

an hour and a half each way to a training site, which I did. On my last day of training my

training officer, not my supervisor or my district manager, pulled me aside and said that the

district manager called him and asked him to tell me that they hired someone else for my

position originally but the candidate never completed his background check or drug test so they hired me. The other employee a week later called and said he never got the email or

calls to take the drug test and that now they want to take away the position I was given and

give it to him and place me in a non-management position at a lower pay rate. Can they do this? I mean I’ve already started and I turned down other opportunities to accept this

position. I feel betrayed and worse, my family’s life is effected. Any advice would be greatly

appreciated.

Asked on July 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most employment arrangments are "at will". This means that if there is no employment contract or union agrement providing otherwise, an employer may change the permeters of a worker's employment as it sees fit, including rescinding a job offer for a higher position at more pay. Also, the employee's treatment must notbe do to some form of legally actionable discrimination (which does not appear to be the  case here). That having been said, in a situation such as your, you may have a legal remedy known as "promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance". The elements of promissory estoppel are: 1) a promise was made, 2) that was reasonable to rely on, 3) that the person actually did in fact rely on it and in so doing changed their position to their detriment, and 4) the promissor (your employer) knew or should have known that at the time they made the promise it would be reasonable for the promissee (you) to act on it. Based on the facts presented, you may have a valid claim. Right now you should consult directly with an employment law attorney who can best further advise you of your rights.


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