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they offered a job then took it back

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I work in the very competitive field of radio and I was recently offered a job in California by a radio station. I live in Wisconsin. When we first started talking they said they wouldn't be filling the position for a while. Then they called back two days later to offer me the job. The program director said that he was mistaken and they needed someone as soon as possible and asked if I could start in a couple of weeks. I asked for a couple of days to think about it and then called back to say I'd take it as long as they could provide a relocation package. (this isn't uncommon in radio) He said that they all ready planned on providing me with a hotel room while out there initially to get established. He said they'd work on a U-haul to help me move and that he'd check on providing the plane tix. He called back the next day and said that the owner said yes to the plane tix and that they'd still work on the u-haul and from there we started working out the details. I gave two weeks notice at work and then a few days later he called back to tell me they changed their mind because the owner re-worked the books and they couldn't afford to have me come out there and pay me my first month's salary. Now I'm screwed, my old job is done, I tried to talk to my boss about it but he said they had the paper work in all ready from my notice and they were interviewing for my old position. Radio is very competitive and it's not like I can just go out and get another job tomorrow. This station in California has really screwed up my life! Is there any legal action I can take for lost wages? Though the negotiations were verbal, I do have an e-mail that the program director sent me stating that they had offered me a position and then retracted it. He did this after I asked him to so that I could try to convince my fomer employer that the whole thing was true and I wasn't just B.S.ing to get a raise. Is there anything I can do?





I am a law school graduate currently awaiting Bar results. What I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.

I specialize in entertainment (music) law and I know how competitive things can be.
This is what I think. Read the area on contract law at freeadvice.com's homepage. It is a good thing you have something in writing, always get things like in this in writing.

Since I am not sure this would be a binding contract (no signatures and employment in most places is at will) I think you can sue under the theory of detrimental reliance. Now suing here may not be wise because of the whole rep thing. But, talking to a lawyer may be wise (try attorneypages.com).

Under detrimental reliance, you relied to your detriment in accepting their offer. You relied on your verbal agreement with them and quit your job, etc. You can sue for the money you are out now with no job. You do have one duty -- to mitigate damages. This means basically, you cannot just sit around and wait to get discovered and not work. It means you have to make a reasonable effort (keep all letters, correspondence you have) to get a job so you are making an income. However, the rule of mitigation does not require you to get a job as a hamburger boy -- you need to search for jobs comparable to your skills (doctor not expected to seek a job as a plumber). get it?

So, get out there and make some contacts. Read R&R mag and good luck to you!

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