Can I sue for lost wages?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue for lost wages?

I recently had a job offer that required me to work a 12 week on 2 week off schedule. The company gave me an original departure date of 02/05/2017 then called me and changed the date to 01/22/2017. On January 19, 2017 I received a phone call followed by a email that said that the company’s work load changed and that they no longer were holding the training and that my flight and hotel would be canceled. I had reorganized my whole life around my expected new career and moved my children in with relatives, changed their schools, purchased all the required equipment for the job, canceled my flights and hotels for family reunion, resigned from my job, turned down multiple other job offers, etc. and all of these changes of course has caused me financial pain and hardship and future financial troubles because now I have no secure job and most likely will not be able to return to previous job. Will I be able to sue this job for loss of wages?

Asked on January 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Most employment arrangments are what "at will". This means that absent an employment contract, a company may fire an employee much as it chooses or, as in this case, rescind a job offer. The exception to this would if the legal remedy of "promissory estoppel" or "detrimental reliance" applies. The elements of promissory estoppel are: 1) a promise was made; 2) that was reasonable to rely on; 3) that the person actually did in fact rely on it and in so doing changed their position to their detriment; and 4) the promissor knew or should have known that at the time they made the promise it would be reasonable for the promissee to act on it. Based on what you have written, you may have a claim. At this point, you should consult directly with a local employment law attorney who can best further advise you.

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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