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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 90221
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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Hello, My wife is a Speech Pathologist and was officially

Resolved Question:

Hello,

My wife is a Speech Pathologist and was officially offered a position about 3 weeks ago through a private company. This company has their own clinics, but also fills positions for school districts. She has been working with this company for quite some time to secure a position and was told back in June via email that she could start the relocation process. We are moving from Los Angeles to Elk Grove which is about 400 miles away. She was sent a new employee packet and a "welcome" email 3 weeks ago. As of today, the company has informed her that the position is no longer available. At this point it looks like they are going to try and find her something else and we do not want to pursue legal action, but need to know our options. We have 2 young children (3.5 year/2 months) and have already given 30 day notice. My wife resigned from a prominent position of 8.5 years and took herself off the market during the key hiring time since she had secured this position. We are in the process of trying to secure housing close to the area my wife was promised a position. What legal obligation does the company have? What if they only offer her a position far away from the original promised location? Again, I think the company is going to do what they can to make it work, but want to know our options just in case. Thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The issue with these offers of employment is they are at will offers, meaning the employer can change their mind up to the hire date. The issue then becomes if your wife has reasonably relied upon the offer to take actions of quitting another job and selling/buying a home to relocate and in those cases there is a potential legal claim against the employer for breach of contract based on "detrimental reliance," which means she acted reasonably relying on their offer and incurred damages for which the employer would be liable. That would be her only real legal recourse without a binding contract for employment.



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your quick response.... My main concern was exactly what you addressed as I feel we were more than reasonable with the time we waited to take action (30 day notice, moving arrangements, wife resigning, etc.), but the company is dropping this on us at the last minute and waited 3 weeks from the offer date to tell us. Just out of curiosity, is an offer letter considered a binding contract or still just an at will offer?? Originally, we had decided to not make any arrangements until we had an official offer letter, but the emails she received covered everything so figured it was the same. Emal wasn't as popular the last time I got an offer letter! :o)


 


Thanks!


 


 

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately, an offer letter can be retracted as it is just an at will offer of employment and it is not a binding employment contract. Emails can be considered offers, but unless it states it is a binding offer, which you said it does not, I am afraid it is at will and can be retracted and then she has to pursue for damages based on the detrimental reliance in that her actions were reasonable and she did suffer damages.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My last question....


 


So for an offer to be an binding offer, it would have to actually say something like, "this is a binding offer"?


 


Thanks for your help!


 


Paul

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

Yes, I am afraid that it needs to say that it is a binding offer or it must state specifically that it is a contract for employment.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does it matter that she officially accepted the offer through email? I am confused as I have seen in a number of places online that the contract is binding if it was officially accepted?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

The offer is an agreement to hire, but the problem is when it states it is an at will offer, which means it can be withdrawn even if she did accept it. The offer is not really a binding offer that she will have a job with the company, it is an offer of a job that can be changed at any time up to when they hire her, which is what "at will" means.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 90221
Experience: 20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 4 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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