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Working Wise - Cancelled Job Offer

Dear Working Wise,

My friend applied for a new job with another company and was told that he had the job. He put in his notice with his employer and was just about to start with the new company when they called and said that they don’t need him anymore—leaving him with no job. Are employers allowed to do this? Does it matter if the job offer was made over the phone?
Signed, Frustrated Friend

May 10, 2017

Dear Frustrated, 

Alberta’s Employment Standards do not address revoked job offers. This would most likely be considered a ‘civil’ legal matter.

Your friend would have to sue the employer for damages. But without written proof of a job offer, your friend might have trouble proving in court that he quit his job, because he was offered a job by the new employer. 

The best advice is to start looking for another job and use this as a valuable lesson. Be sure you are confident in the organization and offer before you accept a job offer. And, most importantly, get the job offer in writing before you hand in your resignation.

Before accepting a new job, you should also consider asking:

  • When and where will I be working and for how long?
  • Is there any shift work, overtime, or travel required?
  • Is overtime paid or unpaid? Some professions are exempt.
  • What is the salary or wage?
  • Are there any performance bonuses or commissions?
  • Will I receive tips? If so, am I expected to share them with co-workers?
  • Are there scheduled salary increases?
  • Am I required to use my personal vehicle? If so, will I be compensated for mileage and insurance costs?
  • What other benefits do you offer, e.g., health, dental, retirement savings, vacation, sick days, personal days, severance pay, employee wellness programs, parking?
  • If I quit my current job for this job and you revoke the offer, how will I be compensated?

You can evaluate the job offer and compensation package by:

  • Reviewing the occupational profiles on alis; and
  • Comparing the compensation to the Wage and Salary information provided there.

If you are unsatisfied with the salary offered, but are still interested in the job, you might want to counter the employer’s offer. Try suggesting benefits that have little or no cost, like an extra week of vacation, free parking, or a better job title.

Careful, once you have accepted the job, it will be tough to negotiate changes to the offer.

If your friend would like any help finding his next job, please encourage him to visit his nearest Alberta Works or Alberta Supports Centre

For more information, read How to Handle Job Offers on alis.

Good luck!

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto\Goodluz

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca), a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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