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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have verbally accepted an offer of employment and received

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I have verbally accepted an offer of employment and received a contract for a UK based company, but I have not signed and returned it. Although I am British I am currently working for a Swedish multinational company in Sweden and my current employer is most likely to offer me another position that will be based in Dubai, even though I am currently working my notice period with my current employer.
As I have only verbally agreed the offer with the UK company, which is to start mid August, but I have not signed the contact of employment, am I legally bound to take up this contract, and if I don't will I be subject to legal proceedings in the UK even if I am not resident in the UK?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Does the contract state which country's laws govern it and also is there a notice period stipulated in it for termination?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It states that it sets out the t&C of my employment with the company and includes all details as required by Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The country's laws are the UK. But perhaps I was not clear, I am working for a Swedish company in Sweden and it is not their contract that I am questioning. It is that I searched for employment back in the UK and have been offered a postion with a new company, which I verbally agreed to and they sent me a contract, which I have not yet signed. In the ,meantime my current employer is likely to offer me a position in Dubai which I would rather take than the one I verbally agreed to in the UK. And I want to know if I am legally bound to the UK company or would I be subject to legal proceedings if I broke the verbal agreement by staying with my present employer?
It’s ok, it is as I understood your situation to be. Basically, you would have a binding agreement with the company because a verbal acceptance can be just as legally binding as a written one. What is necessary is an offer, an acceptance and some consideration, all of which look to have been satisfied here. So if you were to go back on this agreement you would technically be acting in breach of contract. However, you cannot be forced to go and work for that company and the best they can expect in the circumstances would be a claim for losses incurred as a result of your breach. This would be instigated in the English courts. What they could potentially sue you for is any recruitment fees they have lost in the process (e.g.; paying for an agent to find you for the job, but if you did not start then they are unlikely to have been paid anyway); or the costs of getting a replacement on short notice if you left them in the lurch at the last minute. The more time you have before you were due to start the more you can argue that they have had reasonable time to minimise any losses they may have incurred. I must say from experience that such claims are extremely rarely pursued – it is just not worth it for the employer. Another complexity in this case is that you are not resident in the UK at present and it may require the employer to commence cross-jurisdictional proceedings and these are rather expensive. Considering the potential return if they were to sue, it just would not make sense to get involved in complex legal proceedings for this. There is a tiny risk it could happen but I would say it is negligent. So I suggest you contact them as soon as you have made a decision and let them know that you are not proceedings with the job, giving them as much notice as possible. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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