Is it legal to terminate an employee without reason and severance before the employee has even started their job?

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Is it legal to terminate an employee without reason and severance before the employee has even started their job?

Recently I was hired and signed a contract for a large school to work in their admissions office. The day of my contract signing I received a voicemail retracting their job offer that I had already signed. I had also already given my 2 weeks notice at my current job. This incident left me essentially jobless without reason for termination. Am I entitled to severance at minimum? If not, what are my next actions legally?

Asked on July 24, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wyoming

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

From the facts given, you may well be a case where somethign known  as " promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance" applies. The key issue is if your prospective employer knew, or should have known, that withdrawing the job offer, you quit an existing job or turned down a different offer (if they knew or should have known of both, all the better). The elements of promissory estoppel/detrimental reliance claim are:

A person/entity (the promisor) made a factual promise/representation to another (the promisee);
It was reasonable for the promisee to rely on the promise;
The promisee did something to their detriment based on the promise;
The promisor either knew or should have known that the promisee would do what they did.

At this point you should consult with a local employment law attorney for further advice.
 


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