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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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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