What should I do if my job has been put on hold due to circumstances beyond my control?

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What should I do if my job has been put on hold due to circumstances beyond my control?

I have been given a written job offer and was provided a start date of 02/06and also provided with a schedule of training dates and times. In the interim last month, I followed up on wages that were unpaid from the previous 2 months from the same employer. Note: I held a holiday position with the same organization. I suddenly got an email from HR that my start date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Next I got a call from an inspector with the organization wanting to investigate why these wages were not paid timely. I met with the inspector and provided answers to his questions. During the meeting the inspector stated that my start date had been delayed due to the investigation. He then said he would make some calls on my behalf. To date, I have not received a start date. Do I have a legitimate complaint? Why am I being penalized for something that was not my fault?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a written job offer does not necessarily (or even usually) constitute an enforceable employment contract: to be an enforceable contract, besides being in writting, you need:
1) You must have provided "consideration," or something of value (e.g. giving up or leaving an existing position to take the job; giving up a thing of value is, in the law's eyes and for this purpose, the same as actually giving it to the other side) to the employer; and 
2) there must be definite end date or duration (e.g. a one-year contract, two-year, etc.)--since without a duration during which the contract is enforceable, the employer can change your job or terminate you at will, which makes the contract a nullity.
If the writing you received qualified as a contract, you could enforce it in court if need be, by bringing a lawsuit for breach of contract. But without an enforceable contract, your employer may delay your start date at will, for however long it likes, or even renege on the job entirely.


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