What canI do if I moved to a job only to find out that they cannot hire me?

I was on-line and I found an ad and replied. I drove 1.5 hours to interview with this company. That day they offered me the job and discussed pay. They knew that I had to move to the area and went so far as to help me look for a place to rent. I found a place and moved in the day before I was supposed to start. I had also made arrangements to pay some bills that I had because of the job offer. I moved in and at 4 pm the day before I was supposed to start they called to tell me that they couldn’t hire me because of something in my background. What can I do?

Asked on November 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Detrimental reliance (also known a "promissory estoppel") is an equitable remedy that is invoked in order to prevent an injustice in a situation much as yours. Essentially, it allows someone to enforce another's representation/promise even in the absence of an actual contract/agreement, in the following circumstances:

  1. Person A made a factual representation/promise to Person B;
  2. It was reasonable for Person B to rely on it;
  3. Person B did something to his detriment based on the representation/promise;
  4. Person A either knew or should have known that person B would do what they did.

So, as in your case, if an employer makes a credible job offer to an out-of-town applicant and therefore should therefore know or expect that this person would relocate on the basis of that offer, and they in fact do, then the person may be able to hold the employer liable for the costs, etc. incurred as a result of that representation/promise. From the details that you have provided, you may want to consult with an employment law attorney and go over the details of your situation; you may have a legal claim.


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