What are my rights regarding a rescinded job offer?

UPDATED: Mar 9, 2012

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What are my rights regarding a rescinded job offer?

Approximately 3 weeks ago a company made me a job offer and I accepted. I was scheduled to start in 3 days. I completed required drug background tests, no issues. Purchased required/non-refundable uniforms and prepared for my new position. HR called me told me very excited to have me join the team. Today I went into the office and was given a tour of the facility and was shown were I would be working at. My file was reviewed to confirm my shift and department. I left and within 10 minutes received a call they could not hire me because other people had decided to return and now not enough money is in the budget to hire me.

Asked on March 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you were given an employment contract or agreement, that is enforceable--you could force them to give you the job or else recover compensation (which is more likely what a court would give you).

If you did not have an employment contract, but you did something significant to your detriment in reliance on their promise of employment--more significant than buying a uniform and preparing for a position--you could possibly still hold them accountable for their promise. Typically, it requires something like relocating for a job, leaving an existing job for the new one, etc. to do this. If this was the case, you  should speak with an attorney about your options. (The relevant legal theory is called "promissory estoppel"--being stopped from denying a promise--though it is also sometimes known as "detrimental reliance," because you have relied to your detriment.)

If you only spent some time and bought a uniform, you *may* be able to sue in small claims court for the cost of the uniform, based on the fact that you bought it in reliance on their offer, but that is probably the most you can do, unfortunately.

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