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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 88819
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Breaking a contract with employment agency

Customer Question

I signed a promissory note with an employment agency yesterday based on them finding me a position with a company, however, I have not accepted the position nor is the position secure seeing as how I have yet to pass a background check and drug test, Is there anyway that I can cancel this contract/promissory note seeing as how i only signed it yesterday? I did tell the employment agency immediately after signing it that I was not sure about accepting the job offer
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

The law does not generally allow a person to cancel a contract (there are exceptions, but it doesn't seem that the exceptions apply here). However, the contract itself may have a cancellation clause, so you should review it in detail. If you are supposed to pay the agency something based on them finding you a position, however, then you may end up having to pay regardless if they found you a position. Their argument will be that they fulfilled their obligations, and now you must fulfill your obligations.

I regret that my answer is generally unfavorable, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than a truthful response. With that in mind, I hope that you found value in my answer. If your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then feel free to let me know, as I will be happy to clarify my answer or help with your follow-up questions. In the meantime, please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time (doing so does not end our discussion). Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The contract notes that they have secured a position for me however the position is not secure since I have yet to pass the background check or the drug test if I were to fail these test would this mean that the contract would be void since the position has not been secured.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.

I'd have to read the contract to determine the conditions under which it would be void or whether it can be rescinded. However, in general you must give the other party to a contract a reasonable opportunity to meet its contractual obligations. Therefore, you'd need to at least let them try to see if you pass the background check and drug test. You should also review the contract to see if there is a disclaimer with regard to background checks and drugs tests which states that it is not considered a breach if you fail a background check or drug test.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The contract does not have any disclaimer with regards to background checks it does say that the acceptance of employment is "pending based on confirmation of start date by employer" which has not been confirmed because I have not passed the background check or drug test, there is not confirmation date because of this. And Im I making a protest/ notice of dishonor if I in fact fail the tests?
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.

I doubt that you'd be able to successfully claim that the agency breached the contract if you failed the tests ... unless the agency guaranteed that you'd pass the tests.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Im not saying that the agency would breach the contract, but since it says that everything is pending on the official confirmation of start date and the official confirmation of start date will not happen if I fail the tests, is that not a loophole????
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Can you describe the contract in more detail? What are the agencies obligations, what are your obligations, and how long is the contract to last?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well it's my understanding that they are supposed to help me find a job and upon successful job acceptance, they would charge me a certain amount for their services. When I first met with them I told their recruiter that I wouldn't be able to pay that much. I had established a repore with the lady and she didn't really explain well what was going on, I should of known better than to sign because it felt like she was in a hurry to get me to sign. So, I signed, she seems like a sweet old lady and I told her I had to talk to my wife before I could fully agree to accept the job and agree to any payment and she didn't say no and seemed to agree. Plus, I thought I had a fail safe because on the paper I signed it says that "payment is due pending final confirmation of start date by the employer". So if i fail the drug test or background check the employer will obviously not confirm a start date. She wants me to pay 7,040 in monthly payments within the next six months. I have been unemployed for the last 3 months and told her that I don't have any money , I can't afford rent (hence why I needed to speak with my wife), don't own a car and don't own a house.When I began meeting with her in the initial process, first of all I thought the payment would be less because I told them I couldn't pay that much and I also thought it wouldn't take so long for them to find me a job. My savings are depleted and that's what I was planing on paying with. There is not much more to the contract aside from the fact that the promissory note says that "presentment, protest, notice of dishonor and notice of protest are waived by each and every maker and endorser" However, again it is all based on pending final confirmation of starting date by the employer. So, does that mean that if I Fail any of the tests and the employer does not give final confirmation, Do I not have to pay this amount? The employer himself said that the full job offer was pending based on the results of the background test and drug test.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.

It sounds like even if you don't get this job, the agency has the right to continue to look for other jobs for you, and you'll need to pay at some other point in the future when you get a job. I suspect that if you don't get this particular job, it will only delay the inevitable. I've never heard of this type of contract, however. Doesn't it state anything about cancellation, or have any sort of time limit?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It does not have anything about cancellation nor does it have a time limit. What happens if I find employment of my own, and the company has nothing to do with the job that I get??? I have a pending job opportunity with another employer in which they had nothing to do with, never sent me on an interview nor do they know about it and I had met with this company before I started working with the agency but it is only till now that they have a position available. Is there not a way to void or cancel the contract since I told the them immediately the same day that I would not be able to pay her this amount? And that I would have to discuss this with my wife to have final approval and she was ok with that, even though I signed, doesnt her word and our conversation mean anything???
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.

No, the conversation means very little to the extent that it cannot be used to contradict the written contract. Generally speaking, when contracts do not have specific time frames, then judges conclude that they must be completed within a reasonable time, and the judge determines what is reasonable based upon industry standards and other factors that are relevant (such as whether you haven't found a job because of failed drug tests, etc.). If a reasonable time has passed and the agency hasn't found you a job, then you could argue that it has breached the contract and that you are relieved of your obligations. If you find employment on your own, then it's possible the agency could make an argument that you still owe the money since you didn't give them a reasonable opportunity to find you a job.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I could ask you one more thing... The contract states that "there is no cost to me unless I accept the position.." And that it is when the "Employer makes an offer to me that I should report to the agency to sign the papers".. the papers that I signed were signed on friday 2/17/2012, however I just received a phone call from The employer now making an initial offer pending the screenings tonight, 02/19/2012... so the offer that this lady made me sign on friday was an assumption she made based on information she had, but the offer was just made and I have not accepted nor denied it with them and told them that I would call them back, also the salary that the employer offered is different from what I signed... If i choose to not accept the job, and I have proof that they now only called me to offer me the position not when this lady made me sign can the contract be considered void or invalid.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again.

I spent a considerable amount of time responding to you yesterday, but you did not accept any of my answers. I can only assume that you were not satisfied. Accordingly, I'm going to opt out. Perhaps another expert will respond.

I wish you luck!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the delay, your previous expert has opted out, but was correct in the assessment of your contract. Courts hold people bound to the contracts they signed based on the wording in the contract and under the Parol Evidence Rule oral statements cannot be used to change the meaning of the contract. Under breach of contract, as the previous expert stated, you must give them a chance to cure any breach. If you are offered this job, they could hold you in breach if you turn down a legitimate job offer from this company. If you obtain another job that they had nothing to do with, then this is grounds to not pay under the terms of the contract, but if you unreasonably refuse the job you have been set up with by them pursuant to the contract they would be able to seek to enforce.


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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok. great, I did get a job offer on my own that is a better offer so that may allow me to break the contract since I have not officially accepted the other offer and like I said before The contract states that "there is no cost to me unless I accept the position.." And that it is when the "Employer makes an offer to me that I should report to the agency to sign the papers".. the papers that I signed were signed on friday 2/17/2012, however I just received a phone call from The employer now making an initial offer pending the screenings tonight, 02/19/2012... so the offer that this lady made me sign on friday was an assumption she made based on information she had, but the offer was just made and I have not accepted nor denied it with them and told them that I would call them back, also the salary that the employer offered is different from what I signed... If i choose to not accept the job, and I have proof that they now only called me to offer me the position not when this lady made me sign can the contract be considered void or invalid???
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
If you got your own job through no efforts of the agency, this is grounds for the contract to not be valid, since they did not get you this job. The contract applies, based on what you have typed to any job the agency gets you. It is not enough that you do not accept the job they set up you have to prove you did not accept for good cause, which would be you having a job offer for better pay/benefits/conditions.

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