If I was told that I had a job and have emails confirming said job but was notified today that the job no longer exists. was it legal to mislead me?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I was told that I had a job and have emails confirming said job but was notified today that the job no longer exists. was it legal to mislead me?

About 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by about a job. He had gotten a copy of my resume from an online job site and felt I fit the needs of the position offered. He then proceeded to confirm that it would in fact be a 40 hour a week job and would be a permanent position. I then allowed them to do a background check, drug screen and filled out a new hire packet for said job. Additionally, I put in my 2 weeks notice at my then the job. I received an email last week confirming my start date of this past Monday. However, I was contacted on Monday and told to wait, as the manager was out of town, so I would be starting Wednesday. I then called and talked to the person who

Asked on November 29, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may have a viable lawsuit. The reason I write "may" is that, as you may already know, employment in this country is "employment at will": normally, unless you have a formal written employment contract, you can be terminated, or your job eliminated at any time, for any reason--even before you start the job. 
But there is a doctrine called "promissory estoppel" that can sometimes enforce non-contractual promises: if *all* the following circumstances exist--
1) Someone promised you something, like a job;
2) To accept or act on their promise, you would have to do something signficant to your detriment, like quitting an existing job; 
3) The other side (the promissor) knows, or reasonably (logically, that is) should know that to accept their promise, you'd have to do that thing to your detriment, but knowing that, still makes you the promise to get you to do something (like take the job); 
4) It was reasonable for you to rely on the promise (everything looked legitimate and solid; no reasonable warning signs); 
5) You in fact did that detrimental thing (like quiting an existing job)
--then a court might hold them to their promise, and force them to pay you compensation (e.g. what you might have earned for several months) if they don't give you the job. But because the norm in this country is "employment at will," some courts are reluctant to enforce promises of employment this way; this legal theory gives you a chance at suing them, but success is not guaranteed.
Ideally, you would have an attorney help you if you sue them, but if you can't afford one, you are allowed to sue on your own ("pro se").

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