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Not commencing employment after signing contract

 
#1 Not commencing employment after signing contract
10/02/2014 00:09

newbie1212

Hi all,

Would there be any legal implications of not commencing employment after signing the contract? I have not stepped foot in the company's office nor represented then in any way so far.

Thanks.

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#2 RE: Not commencing employment after signing contract
10/02/2014 08:33

marsday to newbie1212 (#1)

Assuming this is in the UK, then there are no legal ramifications. Potentially burnt bridges but you wont have any legal issues to deal with.

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#3 RE: Not commencing employment after signing contract
10/02/2014 09:17

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#2)

Whilst unlikely, could they not sue for damages? For instance, perhaps they had made commercial commitments on the basis that you would be joining, which they now find themselves unable to deliver and thus having to back-fill using expensive agency staff?

Is an employment contract different to any other contract? Usually, a breach of contract means that, if one side is able to demonstrate that the breach has been to their detriment, they can recover the costs from the other party? In which case the way out of having already signed an employment contract would be to hand in your notice on day 1 and then work through your notice period unless mutually agreed otherwise?

If it's a big company, I expect however that they would just be used to this sort of thing happening and would be cheesed off and swear never to deal with you again - but that would be the end of it.

(This isn't legal advice by the way, just some random thoughts!)

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#4 RE: Not commencing employment after signing contract
10/02/2014 11:01

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

It's a technically grey area - technically all that is needed to create a liability is a positive action from the recipient of the contract, and that effectively forms it. In reality there aren't any legal ramifications in withdrawing from a signed contract unless a positive action has been undertaken (can argue that accepting is itself a positive action). A court would likely look for something beyond that - some act of representing the company, or entering premises etc.

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#5 RE: Not commencing employment after signing contract
10/02/2014 11:17

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#4)

Mars is right, the first step I think would be to just call the company and let them know that "unfortunately due to blah blah blah I can't join any more"... then take it from there. They'll probably just be annoyed.

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