My new employer has retracted my employment offer, after I have resigned from my previous employment. Do I have any legal recourse?

My new employer has retracted my employment offer, after I have resigned from my previous employment. Do I have any legal recourse?

In today’s society, the work force is increasingly transient, and individuals routinely change jobs as well as career paths. Indeed, the Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that on average, an individual will change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their working life. In such a climate, it can be difficult navigating the uncertain realm of when to rely on the offer of new employment and resign from previous employment.


Has your employment offer been retracted?

Occasionally, a ‘new employer’ will offer an individual employment, and later retract the offer. The reasons for the retraction commonly provided by the employer include that the role no longer exists, or that the applicant is no longer considered a ‘good fit’ for the role. The consequences can be both extremely distressing and financially devastating for the applicant if they have already resigned from their previous employment.

What legal recourse is available?

If you have resigned from your previous employment due to representations made by your ‘new employer’, and the offer of employment has since been retracted, the ‘new employer’ may be liable for breaching provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Indeed, under the ACL, the ‘new employer’ may be liable for engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct by extending you the offer of employment or misleading you about the nature/availability/conditions of the employment, and you have suffered loss or detriment insofar as you have resigned from your previous employment.

If you believe that your ‘new employer’ has engaged in the above behaviour by offering employment and then retracting this offer, do not hesitate to speak to our lawyers about your rights.

I am an employee looking for new employment: how can I protect myself?

If you are actively seeking new employment, it is good practice to only resign from your current employment upon receiving a written confirmation of the offer of employment, the role title, job description and conditions of employment.

I am an employer looking to employ someone: how can I protect myself?

As an employer, you should only extend an offer of employment to an applicant if you are prepared to fulfil this offer. It follows that no written or oral representations relating to an offer of employment should be made unless all due diligence regarding the applicant has been undertaken, and you are confident that the position will continue to exist.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to retract an offer of employment, you should seek legal advice as to the best way to approach this.

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