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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47367
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have signed a job offer by a company in the UK and am now

Resolved Question:

I have signed a job offer by a company in the UK and am now about to decline it a week before the supposed start date, will there be any potential legal consequences for me
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. Were you issued with a contract and does it have a notice period for termination?

Ben Jones :

I am just due in a meeting so will reply as soon as I return, thanks

Customer:

Hi, yes, it indicates a notice period of one week for the first month of employment. Sure, take your time, I will check again soon. Thank you

Customer:

you're coming back?

Ben Jones :

Hi sorry I could not access the site earlier, some connection issues by the looks of it, looks I am back in now so will just finalise my advice and respond very shortly, thanks for your patience

Customer:

no worries

Ben Jones :

When you accepted the offer you would have entered into a legally binding contract with the company and not proceeding with the agreement could potentially place you in breach of contract. In these circumstances the employer could consider taking action to pursue you for any damages or losses incurred as a result from that breach, although they would need to justify these and they must also be reasonable and foreseeable. As an example, if you tell them a week before due to start that you are not going ahead and they urgently needed someone to fill this position in, if they incur any expenses in getting a replacement with such short notice, such as agency or recruitment fees, then they could pursue you for these. However, they would need to justify that such a replacement was necessary and unavoidable.

In reality, such claims are very rarely made. The usual scenario is that you part on somewhat sour terms but each party just moves on. An employer would not usually wish to waste time and expenses pursuing such a claim, especially as they may not be able to justify the costs they may wish to try and go for. Also you could argue that by telling them now you have given them adequate notice as it would reflect the notice you would have had to give had you started the job. Technically that does not apply until the contract starts next week, but you are comparing the length and that is the same so it should be reasonable.

Customer:

thanks

Ben Jones :

You are welcome. I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

yes, one brief question yet: they would not be entitled to inform any referees I gave them of my potential breach of contract, would they

Ben Jones :

you do not have to use them as a reference as technically you had not started working for them

Customer:

no, I mean the references I gave to them during the application process , it may be far fetched, but I am concerned they may inform them to get back at me

Customer:

Just to be sure, that would not be allowed for them to do that, would it

Ben Jones :

they can, nothing illegal about that as they will only be telling the truth and they cannot be stopped from contacting them but it is a long shot

Customer:

ok, thanks, satisfied

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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