If you have job that you are supposed to start in 2 weeks and you then give noticeto your current employer, what happens if you end up notgetting hired?

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If you have job that you are supposed to start in 2 weeks and you then give noticeto your current employer, what happens if you end up notgetting hired?

I am suppose to start a new job in 5 days. I had to give my 2 week at my current job. I went by the employer’s place yesterday to keep in touch with them and they told me I was not going to start working on that date. Can they do this?

Asked on August 19, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have a cause of action. Normally, if you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will and may be fired (or told to not start the job) at will, at any time, for any reason. However, there is a doctrine known as "promissory estoppel" (sometimes referred to as "detrimental reliance"). This doctrine means that, in a case like this, if, in reasonable (i.e. the average person would have done it) reliance on a promise of a job, you did something significant to your detriment (like relocating or quitting an existing job) AND the prospective employer either knew or should have known that you'd do this (e.g. they knew you were currently employed when they made their offer), they may be "estopped," or prevented, from not honoring their promise.  If you think this was the case, you shoud discuss the matter with an employment attorney. Good luck.


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