You May Have A Right To Sue If You Are Fired Before Your New Job Starts
If you are like many people, you may have sought a new job for better pay, job growth, or more favorable working conditions. Unfortunately, a good opportunity can turn into a really bad situation for you if your prospective employer offers you a job that you accept and then rescinds the offer before you even start working. You probably already quit your former job, and now you are without any employment prospects. However, you may be entitled to compensation from the employer who terminated your job offer.
Legal Claims You May Have If a Job Offer Is Rescinded
Most employees in California are at-will employees, and an employer can terminate an employee—and prospective employee—for any reason or no reason at all. However, this does not necessarily mean that you have no legal options if you accept a job offer and are fired before the first day of your new job. You could have one of these legal claims:
- Breach of contract. If you signed a contract for your new job, this could give you a claim for breach of contract. Even if you would have been an at-will employee, your new employer may have had you sign a written agreement or made representations that created an implied contract with an expectation that you would be fired only for good cause. If so, you may have a right to compensation.
- Promissory estoppel. Even if you never entered into a formal employment contract, you could have a claim under the legal theory of promissory estoppel. This would turn the promise of employment into an enforceable agreement if you reasonably relied on the promise to your detriment. Quitting your job, relocating to a new location, or turning down another job offer are all ways you can show that you detrimentally relied on the job offer—and are entitled to be reimbursed for your losses.
- Fraud. If the employer intentionally misrepresented the availability of the job or some aspect of the position, you could have a claim of fraud. However, proving a misrepresentation was intentional can be extremely challenging.
- Violation of anti–discrimination laws. It is illegal to terminate your employment—even before it begins—for discriminatory reasons in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal civil rights laws banning discrimination based race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or much more.
What Damages You Can Recover?
The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on the legal claims you have against your employer. You could be entitled to the following types of damages:
- Costs associated with finding a new job
- Wages you would have earned if you remained in your former job and future job losses
- Emotional distress damages
- Punitive damages (only if you have a claim under FEHA)
- Attorney fees
Your Duty to Mitigate Your Damages
Like with other employment-related claims, you have a duty under California law to mitigate—or reduce—your damages. You cannot sit at home and do nothing and expect to receive compensation from the employer who revoked your job offer. You must attempt to find comparable work. However, this does not mean that you must accept an inferior position.
You will need to prove that you fulfilled your duty to mitigate your damages. You should keep detailed written documentation of all of your attempts to find another position. A job search journal can be extremely helpful in keeping track of all the jobs you apply for and the interviews you go on.
It can be difficult to win a claim for wrongful termination before your job started given the challenges of obtaining the necessary proof and the complicated state and federal laws that could apply to your situation. Hiring an experienced employment law attorney is essential to help you build your case and to negotiate a settlement that compensates you for your losses. Do not delay. Start and online chat or call us today at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Corbett Williams.