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Published: Aug 05, 2015 6 min read
Job offer rescinded
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Q: My husband's job offer was rescinded after resigning from his current job. Is there anything he can do?

My husband was offered a job on July 17. Well, today he received an email that said “Please see attachment” from his would-be new employer. He opened the attachment and it was a rescinding letter. No reason why, no call from the company, nothing. He called the woman he had been speaking to and she said that she “isn’t at liberty to say” why they are rescinding the offer letter. Meanwhile, he has already put in his two weeks notice at his current job. He asked them if he could stay and they said it is too late. So now he is out of both jobs.

Is there anything he can do? He was supposed to get a $1,000 sign on bonus. Could he still get that seeing that he did sign on? If so, how would we even go about doing so?

A: That’s horrible. There are (very rare) situations where an employer needs to rescind a job offer, but if that happens, they owe you a clear explanation, a massive apology, and ideally severance payments — not an appallingly cold “please see attachment” email.

That said, rescinding a job offer is generally legal unless the employer operated with deliberate fraudulent intent. There is a legal concept called “detrimental reliance,” where your husband could argue that he relied on this offer to his detriment … but courts generally haven’t sided with those claims (partly because since employment is usually at-will, he could have been fired on his first day without legal recourse anyway).

Read next: The Ultimate Millennial’s Guide to Negotiating Salary

In any case, he should spell out to them exactly the situation they put him in and ask for some sort of restitution and see what happens. For example: “I resigned my job on your word that I had a job with you. I’m now unemployed as a result, unable to get my old job back, and facing potentially months without income while I look for a new position. What can you do to make this right?” An employer with even a bit of decency should be willing to pay him severance or some other kind of settlement (which still won’t make him whole but is better than nothing). If that doesn’t work, he should have a lawyer contact them to try to negotiate on his behalf.

Q: My new employer lied to me about salary. How do I address this? I recently started a new job, which pays me pretty laughable amount but I accepted it because I was told it was at the mid-range point for the position, and I was offered a mid-range wage because of my experience. Well, today I was finally able to access financial documents for my institution that outline salaries for all positions, and lo-and-behold I discover that I am NOT being paid mid-range, but am in fact paid pennies above the bottom 25th percentile.

What angers me the most about this is that I’m basically being paid as if I came in with NO experience, which is not true in the slightest. They explicitly offered me the position because I had so much relevant experience.

What can I do??

A: I’m not normally a fan of trying to renegotiate salary soon after you start, because you agreed to a particular salary, presumably found it fair or at least acceptable, and need to stick to that agreement (just like you wouldn’t want the employer to come to you a few weeks after you started and say that they’d like to pay you less). However, in this particular situation, it sounds like they gave you wrong information — or at least that they conveyed something different than perhaps they intended to. (Who knows, maybe they consider “mid-range” to be everything between the 25th and 75th percentile. Or maybe the document you saw is wrong. Or some other explanation.)

It’s reasonable to seek clarification and find out what happened — not necessarily to renegotiate (which is very hard to do once you’ve accepted a salary and started the job), but to get some clarity on the situation. I’d say something like this: “My understanding was that you offered me a salary in the mid-range for this role, but document X makes it look like I’m actually in the bottom quarter of the range. Can you help me understand?

Read next: My Company Countered My New Job Offer — What Should I Do?

These questions are adapted from ones that originally appeared on Ask a Manager. Some have been edited for length.

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