If I recently accepted an offer from a big data company and signed the contract but my start date has been moved back by about 2 weeks, what are my rights?

On the contract it clearly stated that my begin date is the 3rd of next month. However, the recruiter recently told me that they have some employees coming from Japan but have some problems with visa but they would like us to begin on the same date. Due to this reason my begin date may be postponed a week or two. I wanna ask if I can regard this as a type of breaking contract for the company? Can I ask for compensation for the loss of these 2 weeks salary?

Asked on July 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written employment contract, as you indicate, and the contract specifies a specific start date, then the delay may constitute a breach of contract: for a more definitive answer, you'd have to bring the contract to an employment law attorney to read and review, since contracts are governed by (that is, their effect is determined by) their precise language or terms.

Assuming this is  breach you may be able to use it as grounds to treat the contract as terminated (when one party breaches a contract, the other party may often, if it was an important, or material, breach, now treat the contract as terminated by the breach) and not take the job, if you wish, without penalty.

In theory you could sue for compensation; but in practice, it's not likely worthwhile. Saying that you are earning, for sake of illustration, $84,000 per year, or $7,000 per month. If you lost 2 weeks of salary, your pretax lost wages would be $3,500. Your post-tax wages, which is what you could recover (i.e. you can recover your "profit") would be probably around $2,350 to $2,500 or so. If you hired an attorney, you could spend more on the lawyer than you'd receive. If you acted as your own attorney, you'd reduce the monetary cost of the lawsuit substantially, but would also reduce your chance of winning...and in either event, you'd permanently damage your relationship with the employer, which could have consequences much greater than $2,500 or so in post-tax dollars.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.