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Can we sue a staffing agency for breach of contract?

Renton, WA |

My husband has a good job with an established software company. A recruiting agency contacted him, with a job offer from another very big Seattle based company. Let me just say - both companies are huge. After two interviews he was offered the job. He submit 2 weeks notice to his current employer. Now, just a few days before starting, the staffing company tell him that the job does not exist anymore. They offered him another job, with less pay. We have two children to support! We are completely furious about this. Cancelling a job at the last minute, after EVERYTHING was done is horrible. I am shocked that they would do this to us.

My husband is so angry that he wants to sue.

Do we have a case?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You really need to hire an employment lawyer to review the contractual terms and give you your options.

Providing general answers are meant to help the poster to understand some complex legal concepts and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

A breach of contract suit requires a contract. Was your husband a party to an executed employment contract? Or was he offered at will employment? If the latter, he could have been fired the first day he began work, a fact that he is held to know and a risk he assumed. Without a contract, it will be very difficult to make a case here.

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Asker

Posted

yes, he signed an employment contract

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

The issue then is whether the employer breached the terms of that agreement. No one here can know or advise without reviewing the contract. For that kind of analysis, you will need to consult with local counsel, contract in hand. But it is becoming disturbingly common for employers to utilize employment "contracts" that provide no more or different than at will employment -- that is, that provide nothing more than the default legal position of employee terminable at employer's will. A good test for recognizing a true employment contract is that a genuine employment contract will provide for a term (duration) of certain time (dates) or length.

Asker

Posted

I will have to speak with my husband about the terms of the contract that he signed. What I find incredibly upsetting, is that they found him, scheduled two interviews, he was offered the job, then asked them to allow him to start in 2 weeks so that he could give his current employer proper notice, which the new company agreed. Then, AFTER giving notice, and a few days before starting the new job - they say "opps, there is no job. Oh, you already submit your resignation. Too bad." That is completely immoral. I cannot see how such behavior is ever allowed.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

This just one of many many instances where the law provides very limited relief. Most human affairs, even ones that can be painful and damaging, are not within the scope of legal relief. Most employment law favors the autonomy and freedom of employers. That was at one time believed to be the best economic climate for everyone, despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. Remember "trickle down?" As brutal and unfair as employer-friendly laws can be, there is little evidence of any impetus among the population of this country to change that orientation or legal scheme. 49 and a half states allow for employment at will -- at employers' will. Union membership is declining everywhere. People ultimately get the laws they deserves in that we get the laws we demand.

Posted

In order to have a viable breach of contract claim you need to first have a contract. The contract can be either oral, written, or a hybrid of both oral and written. Depending on what type of contract you have, if any, with the agency will determine your applicable statute of limitations. In order to properly address the issues presented by the question, an employment law attorney should be consulted.

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