If you accept an offer from a company and then turn down another offer from another company but the offer you accepted was then withdrawn, are you entitled to lost wages?

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If you accept an offer from a company and then turn down another offer from another company but the offer you accepted was then withdrawn, are you entitled to lost wages?

I have emails accepting work and an offer that shows I was to start work. Then 2 days later after I had turned down a different company offer I was told they found someone else to do the job but they would have something better for me. So I replied several times over a 2 month period to find out when I would start and I kept getting emails stating they were working on it. The last email came about 6 weeks ago stating they would know by the beginning of last month. However, at that time I was told that they had nothing for me and that they found someone else for the job. I went from almost 3 months with no income that I could have had and feel they owe me. I have all the emails showing the chain of events and how I was lead to believe they were putting me to work.

Asked on February 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you had an actual written *contract* from them, guarantying you a job, you could enforce the terms of that contract in court if necessary (e.g. you could file a "breach of contract" lawsuit against them, if they will not honor their contract). However, without an employment contract, all employment is "employment at will": an employer may terminate employment, delay employment, rescind an offer of employment, etc. at any time, for any reason. There is no guaranty of, or right to, employment without a contract; the employer could keep delaying the start date then finally tell you there is nothing (or they could have started you and immediately terminated you). Without a contract, you would not appear to have a cause of action. As to the 3 months without income: you did not have to wait for them. You could have sought other permanent work, take short-term, freelance, or part-time work, etc.


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