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What are the potential legal implications of reneging on a job offer I previously accepted?

New York, NY |

I was offered a high-paying job in mid-2013 with a target start date of January, 2014. For a number of reasons, I have decided to take another job in January instead and renege on my signed offer from mid-2013. I received a sign-on bonus as well.

What can the employer legally do, besides ask that I return the sign-on bonus? Can they sue me for breach of contract or anything else?

Pleaes note: this is at-will employment, as stated in the offer letter I signed.

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Attorney answers 3


If there was no contract, then there would realistically be no consequences. However, if you received a sign-on bonus it is likely that there was a written agreement of some kind before you received those funds.

If there was an agreement we are unable to answer your question without first reviewing that agreement.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (!/employattorney) or Facebook ( if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.



Thank you for this. The contract states "If you do not commence work for XXX by XXX, you will repay the amount previously paid to you by the company. You agree to repay all reasonable attorney expenses and fees incurred for the recollection of the amount."

Vincent Peter White

Vincent Peter White


If that is the entirety of the agreement you have entered into then I see no consequence, other than what is stated in that agreement.



Thank you!


If you did not receive this offer through a head hunter, probably not, but you may want to have an attorney review the letter to be sure.


You will almost certainly have to return the sign-on bonus. As for whether the employer has any other options, it's impossible to tell without having a local employment attorney review the actual documents.

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