When a job offer is no such thing.
November 13, 2008 12:58 AM Subscribe
Australian Industrial Relations / Contract Law: when a job offer isn't worth the paper it's written on, what recourse does one have?
posted by Ultimate Sockpuppet the Second to Law & Government (7 answers total)
You are not my lawyer and your answers aren't legal advice - I still wanna hear it. Even if your experience of law is outside AU, I'd still like to hear your opinions as a matter of interest as long as you say which jurisdiction they refer to.
A has a great professional job in Adelaide, but decides (with their partner, B) that it would be good to start a new life in Perth. B obtains a government job in Perth and A applies to recruitment agency R, amongst many others.
R finds employer E offering a job that is a very good fit for A, there is a successful phone interview, a letter of offer is sent, signed & returned. Four weeks later, A gives notice to their current employer and has begun handing work over to other employees.
Two weeks later (today): A and B will be visiting Perth next week to view an apartment and sign a lease as well as meet R and E face-to-face. A confirms the meeting (arranged when the offer was signed) with R then receives a call from E indicating that they are reviewing all existing and particularly new employees with a view to saving cash now that there's a bit of an economic downturn on. E has not rescinded the offer yet but is clearly seriously considering it. A, R and E will likely still meet next week as planned, at which point E expects to have some sort of decision.
Clearly A cannot compel E to employ them because all employment contracts have a probationary period wherein the employee can be terminated for no cause whatsoever. However, A believes the offer of employment to be a contract, though compelling fulfilment of the contract is worthless (A would expect to see one day at work before being fired for suing their new employer while in the probationary period!). A believes that they have placed detrimental reliance on that contract and ponders damages on that basis - A and B have wound up their old life (jobs, housing), booked plane tickets and removalists and are about to pay the bond on a new apartment.
Does A have any legal recourse against E, either under IR or contract law?
Obviously A is mightily pissed and is now seeking another job but really doesn't want to be job-hunting and interviewing when they should be packing. Finding another job is likely (A has an excellent resume and references in what was a very in-demand field 2 months ago), but it's not necessarily likely to be as good as the one at E. A doesn't trust E as far as he could throw them and will certainly be looking very hard for new jobs even if E does take them on.
Yes, I am A.