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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44874
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have signed a contract with an UK employer to join on the

Customer Question

I have signed a contract with an UK employer to join on the 23rd of March 2015. However, I now want to refuse (i.e. not join) because I have counter offer from my current employer . Can I do that without any bad/legal consequences?What are the implications for me should I refuse the offer.
It says in the beginning of the contract "You agree that this contract commences on 23rd March 2015 and your period of continuous employment commences on 23rd March 2015." Does this mean that it the contract does not come in force before the 23rd of March and as long as I decline the offer (which I signed earlier), there will be no implications. No where in the contract does it specify that I am bound to join the company and does not mention of any implications/breach should I refuse.
The legal status of the contracts states the following:
"This Contract is governed by the laws of England and Wales and the Courts of
England and Wales will have non-exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate any dispute
arising under it."
Please can you kindly provide me the requested response.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Does the contract have a notice period to terminate it?
JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

let me check

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Not that I see...Under the Your employment may be terminated at any time during the probationary period by either party to this Agreement giving to the other party not less than one month’s notice in writing of termination of employment (which may expire after the end of your probationary period).

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

sorry it says under the probationary period section the following "Your employment may be terminated at any time during the probationary period by either party to this Agreement giving to the other party not less than one month’s notice in writing of termination of employment (which may expire after the end of your probationary period)."

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Also under the NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT section it says the following "Except in circumstances set out in clause 13.5 below or other circumstances which would justify the Company summarily dismissing you, and except during your probationary period, either party must give to the other three months notice in writing to terminate this Agreement."

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

does that provide you with you sufficient information?

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Additionally under the "The Agreement" section it says the following:

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

"

24.1 This Agreement sets out the entire agreement and understanding in connection with your employment and supersedes any prior agreement or arrangement.
24.2 Any Group Company may enjoy the benefit and enforce the terms of this Agreement in accordance with the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. Notwithstanding this, neither we nor you require the consent of any Group Company to rescind or vary this Agreement at any time, even if that variation or rescission affects the benefits conferred on such Group Company.
24.3 There are no collective agreements that affect the terms and conditions of your employment."

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Hi it says that you posted some information is not currently in this chat at the moment...any way you can repost of send me your response please

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

I really need a response urgently...anyway I can a response today?

Ben Jones :

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

When you accepted the offer of employment you would have entered into a legally binding contract with the employer. They agree to provide you with the job and you agree to start working in that position. Whilst a specific start date has been mentioned in the contract it does not mean that the contract only starts to apply from that date – it is the specific terms that would apply from that date but the basic contract is still in place as soon as the acceptance is communicated.

So if you were to withdraw from the contract and not take up the job technically speaking you would be in breach of contract, just in the same way as the employer would have been had they withdrawn the job offer. Ideally you may wish to give the employer a reasonable notice period to cancel the job, such as the notice period stated in the contract. However, if there is insufficient time to readvertise the job and find a replacement you could be pursued for costs they have incurred in finding a replacement on short notice, such as agency fees. Similarly they could pursue you for the fees they have expensed in finding you, assuming they did use an agency.

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Many thanks for your response. In terms of not accepting the offer now, the implications seems to be cost related and is to do with claiming any costs associated with recruiting myself and any one replacing me. (i.e. agency fees). Apart from these implications, are there anything else they can do? Also, how likely/often do companies actually pursue these things in a similar situation?

Ben Jones :

It is rather rare for companies to pursue such claims against employees - but it depends on what losses they have incurred and how intent they are on pursuing this further so it will vary from one employer to the next. But it is rare. There are no other repercussions really - your official reputation is not affected as you do not have to use them for reference purposes but you just never know who talks to who 'off the record' and whether they could unofficially affect any future job opportunities in the industry

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Thanks...Last bit of my question. It says in the contract during the probationary period I can give 1 month notice to terminate my contract/employment. Even though I have not even started, I would still be classed to be in the probationary period, and if my start date was for example one month away (i.e.. 16/04), then would I still be in breach?

Ben Jones :

if you can give the notice period you are due to give had you started then that's better - it give the employer the chance to make arrangements to reduce any losses they may suffer as a result of you not taking up the contract so their chances of claiming breach of contract and resultant losses would significantly decrease

JACUSTOMER-lysxlk49- :

Thanks...so regardless of me giving sufficient notice, they could in theory claim expenses from me. Any idea what how much these costs could be (they went through an agency to recruit me)?. Any rough idea would would be great.

Ben Jones :

yes because some expenses could have already been incurred regardless of the notice period, but to guess these is impossible unfortunately - so many different factors would apply, I would be completely guessing were I to give you any figure at all

Ben Jones :

Could you please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else in relation to this? It is important for us to know either way so we can track customer satisfaction or identify whether I need to help you further? Thanks

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