What are my rights if I turned down job offers because a recruiter informed me that I was going to sign a contract on my first day of work?

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What are my rights if I turned down job offers because a recruiter informed me that I was going to sign a contract on my first day of work?

I had a job offer which I accepted. The day of start was supposed to be the signing of contract but I was only sent a softcopy. The next day, I received a call telling me it’s my free day. The 3rd day, which is today is to be observed as holiday. Sadly, I received a mail from the recruitment agency that their client has requested that the registration process should be suspended. None of the points of contacts are responding to my messages. I realised my colleagues who had no free day yesterday didnt receive such mail. I already turned down other offers. What should I do?

Asked on June 5, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

From what you write, this might be a case where "detrimental reliance" or "promissory estoppel" applies. The key issue being if this employer knew, or should have known, that you were quitting an existing job and/or that turned down a different offer. The elements of detrimental reliance are 1) a promise which was reasonable rely on; 2) reasonable reliance was put on that promise; 3) the person changed their position to their detriment; and 4) the promissor knew or should have known that it would be reasonable for the promissee to change their position in reliance on the promise to their detriment. At this point, you can consult directly with an employment law attorney who can best review all of the facts of your situation and advise you further.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can't do anything, unfortunately. As you write, you did not yet have a signed contract. When there is no contract, you are an employee at will. Employers may terminate an employee at will, or simply not start their employment after offering them a job, at any time, for any reason. As an employee at will, you had no guaranty of employment; having no guaranty, there is no action you can take for not being employed.


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