I live in Illinois, we are now

We are sheltering in place in Illinois. We have two new hires starting 3/30/30 and 4/6/20. We would like to move their start date to 4/8/20 due to sheltering in place. Their offer letter said "We are projecting a start date of 03/30/2020. This date can be amended based upon your needs. Please let me know your availability.

Can we move the start date with out worring about legal action?

2 answers  |  asked Mar 21, 2020 11:34 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (2)

Cynthia Pietrucha
It is likely you can change the start date for almost any reason you want, unless that reason violates a local, state or federal law.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 to be an international pandemic. Given the current COVID-19 situation, many work locations and industries in Illinois are temporarily closed.

You seem to have covered yourself in case of an alleged breach of contract by only including a projected start date. This means you have promised a plan to start by a certain date, but that plan is subject to change.

Must you pay these employees unemployment? Probably not. If they never worked for you, they can never be separated.

Can these employees refuse to accept the delay and decline the job? Yes. They are welcome to find employment elsewhere.

Overall, both parties should remain flexible during the COVID-19 temporary conditions. Some events are just out of our control.

posted by Cynthia Pietrucha  |  Mar 25, 2020 6:36 PM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
I am licensed to practice only in Ohio and will answer your question based on Ohio law. To be sure under Illinois law, consult an Illinois employment lawyer.

Under Ohio law, employees are employed at-will, meaning you can terminate their employment or change the terms of their employment when you want, unless you agreed not to do so in your contract of employment. Therefore, you are free to terminate the employment of these new employees even before they begin their employment. Since you have the right to end their employment altogether, you also have the right to change other terms of their employment, like their start date. As such, in Ohio, you would be able to delay their start date without incurring legal liability.

While Illinois is an employment-at-will state, again, check with an Illinois employment lawyer if you want to be sure.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Mar 21, 2020 12:27 PM [EST]

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