Finding a job is no easy task, and even if you get an offer, there are still potential problems. You might accept a job offer then subsequently decide that position is not right for you. Worse, you might accept the perfect position, and then have the offer withdrawn. What do you do in those situations?
In most cases, the verbal agreement between you and an employer can be rescinded “at will”—that means either party can withdraw from the agreement at any time before you sign a contract. Even if you receive and accept a written offer, this is not legally binding, and either party can withdraw from the agreement.
How to Refuse an Offer You Have Already Accepted
If you accept an offer, then find that the position isn’t suitable after all, or get a better offer elsewhere, you are within your rights to refuse the first offer. However, bear in mind that your reputation as a reliable employee is going to be tarnished, perhaps permanently. Before refusing an offer you’ve already accepted, make sure that rejecting the offer is really the best thing to do.
If you’ve decided to reject the offer, you should tell the employer as soon as possible after you’ve made the decision. There’s no point in delaying this, particularly because the employer must find a new candidate, and it’s always best to be honest about your reasons. The most considerate way of refusing the offer is to first telephone the hiring manager, so that they get the news without delay, and then follow that up with a formal letter.
What to do When a job Offer is Withdrawn
If an employer makes you an offer, they can withdraw it at any time before you have accepted and signed a contract. For example, an offer may be made that has time constraints—such as that you have ten days to consider the offer—and it is then withdrawn if you do not accept within the specific period.
In most cases, you do not have any legal redress for the situation, as the employer has not done anything illegal by withdrawing the job offer. If, however, you suspect that the offer was withdrawn due to a disability you may posses, you may have a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Note that an employer can legally withdraw an offer if your disability will prevent you from performing the duties outlined in the job description, but not if they withdraw the offer solely because you have a disability. If you believe the employer has withdrawn the offer because of your disability, you have 180 days to lay a complaint. The best way to start is by contacting the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.