What are my rights if a job offer is offered and accepted but no further contact is received from employer?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights if a job offer is offered and accepted but no further contact is received from employer?

About 2 1/2 months ago, I was offered a job at a chain restaurant that I had worked for previously and was returning for a temporary position under new management while I was between other jobs. I was very up front with the manager that I would probably only be there for about 3 months. She offered me a job, which I accepted, and we agreed upon my start date being the following Wednesday and she would call me with the time. I received an email with the link to the new hire paperwork, which I filled out. I never received a phone call from her. I called the restaurant a couple of times, but she wasn’t there when I called and she never returned my calls. Since I had accepted the job, I had ceased looking for other jobs. By the time it became apparent that I would not be hearing from her, it was too late as nowhere wanted to hire somebody that was only going to be there for 2 months or less depending on when jobs were to start. I have been unemployed for three months my next job is starting in a week because of all of this. I’m not exactly sure what my rights are in regards to this situation.

Asked on April 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had an actual written employment contract for a fixed period of time (e.g. a one-year contract) with a defined start state which was violated, you do not have any rights, unfortunately. In the absence of such a contract, all employment in this nation is "employment at will": that is, the employer may freely decide who to hire, when; may freely rescind job offers; and may freely terminate employees at any time, for any reason. In the U.S., without a written employment contract like that described above, you have no right to or guaranty of a job, and so no recourse and no entitlement to compensation when denied a job.

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