Can an employer say that I have the job but then a week later decide not to hire me?

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2012

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Can an employer say that I have the job but then a week later decide not to hire me?

Asked on March 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, yes--employers are free to decide who to hire--or not to hire--or to hire someone then fire them, or similarly, to promise a job, but then renege on that promise. There are two main exceptions, though, when they are bound to their promise:

1) There is an actual employment contract or agreement--if so, it is enforceable like any other contract.

2) If in order to accept the job, you had to do something significant to your detriment, like quit an existing job or relocate; the employer knew you'd have to do this to take a job with them, but still offered you the position; it was reasonable to rely on their promise or offer; and you did in fact rely on their promise and do that thing to your detriment--if all these conditions are met, you may be able to enforce the job offer under the theory of "promissory estoppel."

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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