If an employer gave me a verbal confirm to begin employment causing me to turn down another position but then never followed through, do I have a case?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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If an employer gave me a verbal confirm to begin employment causing me to turn down another position but then never followed through, do I have a case?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Potentially you may have a claim for lost wages based upon the theory of "detrimental reliance" against the potential enployer who verbally confirmed a position for you to begin employment resulting in you turning down another position and the verbal confirmation never came through with an actual position for work.

The problem is that the laws of this country regarding employment is that employment is "at will". Meaning, an employer can terminate an employee from his or her position essentially for any reason as long as it is not based upon retaliation or discrimination. Usually when one starts employment with a new employer, there is a probationary period for the employee to pass in order to become in a bit more of a secure position.

In your situation, you did not actually receive a written job offer from that one employer. The problem for you is proving liability and most importantly proving any damages over an extended period of time since your employment most likely would have been probationary for a certain period of time and it was always "at will".

In the future, make sure you get a written job offer before rejecting any other offer.

Good luck.

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