Are companies liable monitarily for moves the request to a potential employee before all paperwork is completed and the move has accrued, then they withdraw an offer?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Are companies liable monitarily for moves the request to a potential employee before all paperwork is completed and the move has accrued, then they withdraw an offer?

I was recently offered a position with a company out of town from where I lived. I had accommodated them for several months, spending many man hours driving, loosing pay, and costs for fuel just for the interview process. I was finally given an offer that had a starting date within two weeks from being displaced by my previous employer due to a merger. I worked with the HR director of the new job to go through my hiring process but it seemed flawed. I went there twice before finally getting it started and also had paper work sent to me via email because the initial paper work was incorrect. These were dates used up within the 2 weeks that were the breaks in my employment. I had to look for a house and relocate to be within a 30 minute driving distance, a requirement of the job. The paperwork, namely back ground check, did not come back in time for my start date due to the late hiring process I was side-lined for 4 days with no work and in a home I had just leased for the job, at the request of the new employer. Once the paperwork came back, my offer was rescinded because of something that was not initially disclosed on the check, but was also not asked for. Something simple that was DMV related and not criminal, not something that would have prevented me from being employed there. A technical simple oversight at best but was used as an item of non-disclosure. Do they have any responsibility monetarily in requesting me to relocate before they were completed in their hiring process? I have spent a lot of time and money to get to their area for the job, not to mention what I went through and spent to get on board with them just in interviews. I expected to start and was there on the day they requested, but was denied starting because for their inadequacies in filing paperwork. Then had to wait 4 more days just to get a phone call saying they were rescinding the offer?

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you had an actual written employment contract guarantying you the job for a specific or set time period (e.g. a one-year contract) and with a defined start date, you would most likely have no recourse. In the absence of a written contract, all employment is "employment at will." That means the employee has no rights to the job and can be terminated at any time, for any reason, without prior warning--even before the job began. Only a written employment contract gives you any guaranty of or rights to a job; without a contract, you do not appear to have any enforceable rights. In the future, do not relocate, etc. without getting a contractual guaranty.

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 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.

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