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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48192
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My son has been offered a placement year in industry

Resolved Question:

My son has been offered a placement for a year in industry working with a global airline carrier. At the moment, he has been offered the placement verbally and in an e-mail sent by a lady from the HR department and she states that the offer paperwork/contract will be sent out via e-mail in the next 7 to 10 working days.
In the meantime, my son has another placement interview with a different company lined up for Tuesday 10th March 2015. He would much prefer to go with the offer he has at the moment but I am just wanting to make sure that if he cancels his next interview, then there can be no change of heart by his first company whilst he waits for the contract to come through.
My son has confirmed that he will take up this place and he has all this in writing via e-mail. The lady from HR acknowledges his acceptance. Am I right in assuming that if my son cancels the next interview, his offer on the table will be honoured as it stands in 7/10 days time with a contract as promised?
Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
Sheila
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer:

Thank you Ben

Ben Jones :

A legally binding contract can be created through an offer and a subsequent acceptance of that offer. It does not have to be made in writing and a verbal offer/acceptance can suffice. So if the company have made you an offer, which is unconditional, and he has accepted it, then a contract could still be in place.

However, that does not mean they will have to go through with the initial offer in full. For example, they could still change their mind and issue him with notice of early termination and not take him on for the full period. If the contract for example allows for early termination they can just give him the notice required (usually a week) and it can terminate his employment earlier. So he is not guaranteed a full year in any event as the employer has the legal right to terminate that early if they wanted to. The same could happen anywhere though and that risk an exist in any job so it really depends on the employer’s intentions.

Customer:

So what I think you mean is that they will have to honour his offer now on the table but they can terminate the contract once my son starts working for them by issuing a notice of early termination. I am sure it will not come to that and other students having gone through the system with this company have never had any problems with regard to early termination.

Customer:

In your estimation then, I would assume you think it would be safe to cancel the next interview on the basis that a contract will be issued as promised on the basis of the e-mails my son has in his possession?

Customer:

You do state 'then a contract could still be in place'. I am confused as to why you only use the word 'could' and not 'is' in place.

Customer:

Any thoughts?

Ben Jones :

Did you not get my response above times 10.19?

Ben Jones :

Hi can you see my replies?

Customer:

Sorry I didn't receive any replies since my last contacts with you at 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 and 10.24.

Ben Jones :

ok sorry maybe my connection dropped when I posted them, will try again

Ben Jones :

'Could' because to show there was a contract there must be an offer, acceptance and consideration. So this is the legal test. It is most likely this would be met but obviously I cannot say with 100% if it was challenged in court that they would agree. Hence why could, although it is the likely outcome.





But you are correct wit the rest - I would hope that they do not cancel this contract as there are probably no reasons to do so but you never now, theit needs could change, they could become over-subscribed, etc


Ben Jones :

sorry about the formatting something happened when I copied this

Customer:

In reference to your comment about an 'offer, acceptance and consideration' we have all of those in various emails so why can it be possibly be challenged at all?

Ben Jones :

the w on contracts is quite technical and going into the specific details obviously beyond a simple Q&A site like this so even when it is apparent that the elements of a contract are present, they can be challenged on court for various reasons, but we are now assuming that you are going to sue the company and they will defend this so it is a bit unlikely

Ben Jones :

the law

Ben Jones :

that should be the first words in my repsonse above

Customer:

All I want from today's contact with you is that I can tell my son to cancel his next placement interview because given the fact that we have written confirmation of an offer and acceptance of a place, there should be no comeback to him. You do not seem to be saying that and that worries me. As a layperson I had always assumed that a written offer and acceptance of any job, would be extremely difficult to go back on in law.

Ben Jones :

I cannot give you a 100% guarantee that there will be no comeback - no one can give you that. I can tell you that the likelihood is that there is a contract in place and that it would be difficult to go back on, but there are years of case law on contracts where apparent contracts have been challenged successfully so hence why I cannot tell you with a full guarantee that this cant happen here either. As mentioned it is a very technical area and if someone puts in the time and resources to challenge it then it can happen, but you are looking at an unlikely scenario here. It is very easy for me to tell you, 'yes go ahead you will have no problems' but I do have a professional duty to advise you of any risks as mentioned abve

Customer:

On the basis of what you say above, I cannot see why anyone would bother getting anything in writing if it can be challenged later on successfully in a Court of Law. What is the point?

Ben Jones :

Contracts have been challenged successfully for years, even if a full written and signed contract has been in place but we are really diverging from the point now - anything can be challenged in law if you spend the money on it, it does not guarantee success but you can have a good go at it. In any event, as mentioned the issue here is not so much the contract but the fact that it can easily be terminated early regardless of whether one was in place or not

Customer:

So on the basis of what you have just said nothing is a dead cert in law, end of story. This is all hypothetical of course because who would spend a fortune trying to remove somebody when a letter confirming the appointment has already been given?

Customer:

On the balance of probabilities, how likely is this appointment not going to be honoured?

Ben Jones :

some things in law are more certain than others but with thousands of laws and regulations and hundreds of years of case law then anything can be challenged to a degree. Otherwise there will be no need for lawyers. And it is not for the company to challenge this - they can just go ahead and cancel the contract or argue it was not in place - then it is up to you as the 'victim' to spend the money and challenge it so it is in your hands, not in the company's - they are just there to defend any claim you make. But as I said we are now diverging from the point and discussing unlikely hypothetical scenarios. In all likelihood I do not see an issue with this and most companies would honour such agreements but I had to advise you of possible risks

Customer:

Thank you for your advice.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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