What limitations are there for an employee who has signed a contingent offer but has been delayed from starting work as a result of the employer?

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2012

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What limitations are there for an employee who has signed a contingent offer but has been delayed from starting work as a result of the employer?

I recently signed a contingent offer for a job with a new company. I met all of the terms of the contingent offer and was prepared to start working shortly after. Right before my initial start date, the position was put on hold by the employer and I have been waiting for the job since. Given that I met all the terms of the contingent offer and also received confirmation from the company that it was safe to quit my previous job (as they did not believe there was anything that would hinder my start date), is there anything that I can do in regards to the loss of compensation?

Asked on August 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an employment law attorney; it's possible you have a legal claim under one or both of the following theories:

1) Breach of contract: depending on exactly what the job offer said (e.g. any letters, documents, etc. containing it said), it may have formed a contract of employment.

2) Promissory estoppel: even when no contract is actually formed, if a job offer was made to you when the prospective employer knew (or reasonably should have known) that you'd have to leave an existing job and, knowing that, still made the offer anyway, then if you do quit the job in reasonable reliance on their offer, that "detrimental reliance" of yours can sometimes be enough to make the promise of a job enforceable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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