When does a signature become irrevocable?
July 20, 2014 1:55 PM   Subscribe

In the context of an employment contract in Illinois, does the employee have any ability to rescind their signature if the employer has not yet signed?

Your advice to consult a lawyer is appreciated but unhelpful, since there is no chance of arranging such a consultation before the employer signs the contract.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What does the contract say? It is actually quite uncommon to have an irrevocable contract - almost all are written such that the contract can be terminated by either side with either no notice (most common) or some notice (for instance, two weeks).
posted by saeculorum at 2:19 PM on July 20, 2014

IANAL and TINLA, but generally speaking, an offer can be revoked at anytime prior to acceptance. However, effective revocation may require notice (i.e. a letter sent ASAP). I am unsure how this would come to bear in Illinois. I suspect that it depends on the type of employment contract and its terms. Once accepted, an offer is generally binding and cannot be revoked. That being said, I am unsure of what claim an employer would have against an employee who revoked an offer prior to acceptance (i.e. with insufficient notice). Until your employer accepts, there is no contract and thus no breach.
posted by ageispolis at 2:35 PM on July 20, 2014

Your advice to consult a lawyer is appreciated but unhelpful, since there is no chance of arranging such a consultation before the employer signs the contract.

There are a lot of employment lawyers who would advise you on this right away. You could call at 9 AM tomorrow.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:22 PM on July 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

IANAL(yet), IANYL, TINLA, and yes, you can usually get a quick consult over the phone, for free or cheap if you are poor.

Employment contracts are a matter of state law, and different kinds of provisions in an employment contract are more or less enforceable depending on state law, reasonableness, and other relevant circumstances.

Do you know whether this is a contract being signed at the commencement of new employment, or a contract modifying an existing employment relationship?

What aspect or provision of this contract is concerning to you?
posted by Schielisque at 3:42 PM on July 20, 2014

Just to be clear, I am an employment lawyer, but I am not licensed to practice in my home state of Illinois, so I cannot answer this question.

I suggest you use the National Employment Lawyers Association Website or their Illinois branch. Use the lawyer finder on each website. Call around in the morning until you find someone willing to talk with you.

This is not legal advice but advice on how to obtain a lawyer.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:53 PM on July 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Half-remembered from the business law elective I took in college 17 years ago; if you take this as legal advice, you're insane:

A contract is valid once both parties have agreed to it. If the other party has not yet agreed to it, you can revoke your agreement up until the moment that they give theirs. Revocation must be sent in a method that is as fast as or faster than the method you used to sign the contract; for example a phone call to cancel a mailed document.

Call your recruiter or whatever now and leave a voice mail saying that you've changed your mind, or if you're lucky, tell that person when he/she answers the phone. Send an email saying the same thing. Walk into his/her office tomorrow morning at 8:00 and say it again.

If you can communicate your revocation before they've made it official, you're (theoretically) good.
posted by Hatashran at 7:59 PM on July 20, 2014

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