Is a prospective employer responsible for my time and travel expenses for an interview that I had to travel to but which he refused to hold when I got there?

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Is a prospective employer responsible for my time and travel expenses for an interview that I had to travel to but which he refused to hold when I got there?

I traveled 3 hours to an interview set up by a recruiter. I had provided resume and completed a long questionnaire in advance. Once there, I was told the hiring manager would not speak with me unless I first completed a series of personality tests. I told them I didn’t know enough about the job or company to provide that in depth of information but that after the interview, if I wanted to pursue, I would take them. I was shown the door. I first heard there may be tests from the recruiter on my drive to the location, but not that it was mandatory, and I said it was too early for me to do so.

Asked on August 17, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

*Arguably* if you traveled on the strength of a reasonable representation by the prospective employer that you would at least get an interview, you may have a claim. However, the problems are several fold:

First, you were told there may be personality tests--thus, you chose to go to the interview even knowing that tests were a possibility.  That undercuts any claim that the misled you into expending time and money.

Second, you can't recover for your time in any event--a person's time is not a compensible commodity in a situation like this. You could arguably recover for the driving costs, but it's impossible to believe that it would be worth a lawsuit to get them (and if the employer doesn't choose to reimburse you, you'd have to sue them for the money).

Third, not a legal consideration, but a practical one--do you want the reputation to get around the industry or to recruiters that you would expect a prospective employer to reimburse you for going to an interview?

If you'd flown somewhere, only to have them change the rules, that would be different--a much larger outlay, for example. But for driving 3 hours when you had a heads up you have to do tests, it is not at a clear that you have an actionable claim.


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