Employment Offers Cannot Always Be Withdrawn Under Maryland Law

During the past six months, I’ve settled three cases involving similar situations that most employers — and potential employees — do not even realize violates Maryland law. Here’s what happens: Company A recruits an employee from Company B, or advertises for an open position, and an employee from Company B agrees to work for Company A. The employee is given a verbal or written offer to work at Company A and accepts the offer. The employee then gives his or her two-week notice, and Company B hires a replacement for the employee. At the last minute, the employee receives an email or a telephone call from Company B informing the employee that the job is no longer available, or that the job offer has been rescinded. The employee is left without a job and will not qualify for unemployment because the employee voluntarily quit his or her previous job.

Under Maryland law, it is illegal for an employer to make a “negligent misrepresentation” to a potential employee if the employer knows that the potential employee is likely to rely upon that misrepresentation by quitting their current job, and if the potential employee actually quits his or her current job to his or her detriment. In plain English, if a prospective employer offers you a job, and you tell the employer that you are going to quit your current job, and if you actually quit your current job and then find out that the prospective employer has changed his mind or is no longer willing to hire you, then you can file suit for negligent misrepresentation.