If after moving across country to start a new job I am told I did not get the postion promised, can I sue for moving expenses and time I wasted moving?

UPDATED: Aug 13, 2012

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If after moving across country to start a new job I am told I did not get the postion promised, can I sue for moving expenses and time I wasted moving?

I applied for a job across the country and was told I would be called with a start date contingent on my urinalysis and background check. After a few weeks I recieved a call from human resources giving me a start date. That day I purchased a plane ticket scheduled to leave that week. I recieved a call the day before my flight telling me my start date was wrong they needed me a day earlier which I replied was fine then I recieved a call that same afternoon telling me not to leave there was a promblem with my background. It was too late to return my tickets or change flights.

Asked on August 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the situation you describe, you may be able to sue under the theory of "promissory estoppel." That means that if someone makes a promise to you (such as that you have a job); at the time the person makes that promise, the person knows you'd have to do something significant to your detriment (like moving across country, buying air tickets, etc.) and knowing that, makes the promise anyway, intending for you to act on it; it is reasonable for you to rely on the promise (so no reason to think it was not a legitimate job offer); and you do in fact rely on it to your detriment (e.g. bought the plane tickets)--when all those conditions are met, you may be able to legally enforce the promise and/or sue for monetary compensation (called "damages"). In a case like this, you could potentially get travel/moving costs, for example, and possible other damages, too.  It would be worthwhile for you to consult with an attorney about bringing a case.

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