Can I sue an employer for offering me a job, giving me a offer letter and never comeing through without contact?

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2011

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Can I sue an employer for offering me a job, giving me a offer letter and never comeing through without contact?

I was offered an HR Director job. I received an offered letter, signed and returned the letter and proceeded with entering the proper notices with my current employers for resignation. After I had already resigned, gave notice to give up my residence and planned to relocate to my new job (I was relocating from out of state).I was told that everything was put on hold and I was left with no job. The person who offered me the job (CEO) never contacted me; I contacted the company to verify information and e-mailed.

Asked on October 26, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Detrimental reliance (also known as "promissory estoppel") is an equitable remedy in the law. It is invoked in order to prevent an injustice. Yours appears to be just such a situation.

Detrimental relianceallows someone to enforce another's promise (or representation) even if there is no actual contract (or agreement) in the following circumstances:

  1. Person A made a factual promise (or representation) to Person B;
  2. It was reasonable for Person B to rely on the promise;
  3. Person B did something to his detriment based on the promise;
  4. Person A either knew or should have known that person B would do what they did.

So (as in your case) if an employer makes a credible job offer to an out-of-town applicant it should know or expect that this person would relocate on the basis of that offer. The person may be able to hold the employer liable for the costs, etc. incurred as a result of that promise (or representation). From the details that you have provided, you may want to consult directly with an employment law attorney and go over the details of your situation to see if you have a legal claim.

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 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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