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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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."


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