Whether it is lawful for an employer to withdraw an offer of employment will depend upon the circumstances, including whether the offer was conditional, whether it had been accepted by the employee or whether the reason for withdrawal was discriminatory.
There are a number of reasons an employer may wish to withdraw an offer of employment made to you, such as
- Its business requirements have changed.
- It has received information about you which casts doubt on the desirability of employing you.
- One of the matters on which the offer was expressed to be conditional, such as receipt of satisfactory references, has not been fulfilled.
If you have an offer of employment withdrawn, you should seek clarification from the employer as to the reasons why. If the withdrawal was unlawful in some way, you may have a claim.
Job Offer Withdrawn: Potential Claims
Automatic unfair dismissal
Unless you have previous relevant continuous service (for example with the same or an associated employer) you will not be able to bring an ordinary unfair dismissal claim. However, there are exceptions. Some reasons will be automatically unfair and don’t require you to fulfil any qualifying period of service to bring an unfair dismissal claim. For example, it would be automatically unfair to dismiss you for a health and safety reason, or because you had made a protected disclosure or because you had made a flexible working application.
If the employer dismissed you for a discriminatory reason (that is, for a reason connected with one of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation), you may have a discrimination claim.
Breach of contract
You may also have a claim for breach of contract if the offer is withdrawn after you have accepted it (see below).
Before You Accept The Job Offer
Generally, an offer of employment can be withdrawn by the employer at any time before it has been accepted by you. The employer will need clear evidence that it withdrew the offer before you had purported to accept it. They should also be able to demonstrate the reasons for its decision to withdraw.
After You Have Accepted The Job Offer
Once any conditions to which the offer was made subject have been satisfied (such as references) and you have accepted the offer, a contract of employment will exist. In these circumstances, the only way for the employer to terminate the contract is to give you notice to which you are entitled under the contract. Failure to do so will be a breach of contract, for which you can sue either in an employment tribunal or in the civil courts. Your loss in respect of such a breach of contract will normally only begin to accrue after the date on which your employment was due to start. If, for example, the contract provides for a four-week notice period, but the employer wrongfully terminates the contract one week before you are due to start work, damages will normally be limited to three weeks’ earnings.
The situation may be more complicated if the contract provides for a probationary period during which employment can be terminated on shorter notice.
Withdrawing Your Acceptance
If you change your mind and decide to retract your acceptance of the offer (assuming any relevant conditions have been satisfied and a contract exists), you will need to terminate the contract by giving the minimum notice under the contract. If you don’t, you will be in breach of contract and the employer has a potential claim against you. Such claims are likely to be rare however, unless the employer can easily show what loss it has suffered as a result.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you have an employment law issue please contact one of our specialist employment law solicitors at LincsLaw on 01522 440512 or visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk for more details on how we can help you.
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors