What can I do about a rescinded job offer?

I was recently offered a position in which I applied for, and received, confirmation of pay by the hiring manager. HR and the hiring manager have confirmed receipt of my application via email. I didn’t receive an official offer letter but have written documentation that the position was mine. Now the hiring manager is stating that the position isn’t available due to the fact he could not approve the salary that he had offered me. Do I have a case?

Asked on October 14, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that if there is no actual employment contract, an employer may generally hire as it chooses, this includes rescinding a job offer. This true unless your not being hired ws based on some form of actionable discrimination, however you did not indicate that to be the case.
The only way that you would have a potential cause of action here is if you acted in good faith upon the promise of being hired and suffered a loss as a result. Such a claim would be made under the legal remedy of "promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance".
The elements of promissory estoppel are 1. a promise was made 2. that was reasonable for the promissee to rely on 3. that the promisee did in fact rely on it and in doing so changed their position to their detriment and 4. the promissor knew or should have known that at the time they made the promise it would be reasonable for the promissee to act on it.
If you  thnk that you may have a claim here, then you should contact an employment law attorney in your area for further advice as to your situation.


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