reneged job offer caused me to lose an earlier offer

For seven years I've been an independent contractor to Hospital A, and they've been my major client. For the last four years I've asked them to change my role to full-time instead of contracting, without success.

I interviewed for and got a great full-time offer from Hospital B; the Exec Director of Hospital A was even one of my references and was called. I then informed A that I was preparing to take B's job unless they could at last offer me a full-time position. After nearly three weeks of waiting, Hospital A then made me a verbal offer for a full-time position, knowing clearly that I would then decline Hospital B's offer, which I did.

26 hours later, Hospital A reneged on their verbal offer, claiming that I didn't have the database skills they now wanted, but which they never discussed. I called Hospital B but the position had already gone to the next candidate.

I know that an employer is able to withdraw a job offer, but I relied on their offer to decline the offer from B. Did that reliance create a valid exception to the usual ability of an employer to reneg on an offer?

1 answer  |  asked Aug 15, 2005 10:19 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
You may have a claim for misrepresentation for a withdrawn job offer.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, you may have a claim for misrepresentation for a withdrawn job offer. Pennsylvania is an employment-at-will state, and job offers can be extended or withdrawn at any time. However, if the job offer was made with the intent to keep you as a contractor at Hospital A, and with the intent to withdraw it when you rejected Hospital B's employment offer, you may have a claim. Normally, such claims require significant detriment to occur, such as having sold your house in another state and moved to Pennsylvania. However, your damages may be enough to trigger liability on the part of Hospital A, if their offer of employment was a sham from the beginning designed to keep you as a contractor.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585
Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Aug 15, 2005 11:05 AM [EST]

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