In my quest to always provide readers with up to date information, I pass along the following warning to employers and employees.
In a poor economic times, landmark employment related court decisions arise. This is attributable to a lack of job alternatives. Folks collecting unemployment have more time to ponder legal action and fight for their rights. Daniel Blake, Esq., a lawyer with the giant malpractice law firm LeClairRyan, highlights a Massachusetts case,
The facts – Leslie Hooker received a written job offer from Trusted Life Care, Inc. (TLC), who was opening an office in her area. Leslie was thrilled with its terms of salary, commission structure, title, expense allowance and start date. After accepting the offer, Leslie resigned from her current job. Shortly thereafter, Leslie was informed by TLC they decided against opening the new office, and would not hire her. Unable to regain her former job, Leslie filed a lawsuit.
The decision – The court applied breach of contract law to rule against TLC. When the offer letter was accepted by Leslie, a contract was created. When TLC revoked their offer it was too late. The contract was breached. Amazingly, TLC would have avoided trouble if they fired Leslie after her first day on the job. As an “at will” employee, she could have been terminated without breach of contract concern.
The advice for employers – Attorney Blake advises employers to touch up engagement letters in the wake of this decision. Consider stating the offer may only be accepted by commencing employment.
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This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.