Any redress for a verbal offer that never came through, despite being given comp figures & background check? Severance?

New HhAR03
Dec 30, 2018 21 Comments

In May 2018, I received a verbal offer for a corporate strategy role with a publicly traded tech company. It has a valuation of around 40 billion. They gave me a verbal offer, conducted a background check, gave me the hard compensation numbers which I negotiated, to which they came back with slightly higher numbers, but never followed through with a written offer. I received this verbal offer in May 2018 and have been strung along for months. When we finalized the numbers, the recruiter said the letter would be coming the second week in June, but that never happened.
I don't have a criminal record nor do I need visa sponsorship. So, they're entirely to blame.There is nothing on my end holding things up.

At this point I have moved on. The last time I spoke to the recruiter was October. He keeps on stating the offer letter is mired in bureaucracy. But I suspect there are some sort of budget cuts or something. I don’t know why they won’t just state outright that the role has been eliminated. At this point I’m under no illusion that the written offer will come through. That being said, I’m wondering if there is any recourse. For example, might I have a claim for severance? I know the concept of promissory estoppel may come into play.... There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there on this issue.

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TOP 21 Comments
  • Amazon Vishnu
    Doesn't sound like this hurt you. You would only theoretically have a claim if you had, say, quit your job, picked up and moved across the country on promise of a job. Even then your claim's value would probably be limited to hard costs assuming you are in an at will employment state. I am not a lawyer but I think you would be wasting your time seeing one.
    Dec 30, 2018 3
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      Thanks for your thoughts. I would say it has hurt me though. I took extended time off to travel abroad(around 10 months) and left my prior employer to do so. The offer was the only I have received thus far. Now I never ended my job search after receiving the verbal. But I haven’t received other offers. So, I’m unemployed. I’m also applying to business school so if I can’t find another job I’ll end up starting school in the summer/fall.

      I feel like it would be a different story if they said we want to extend you an offer, but we just can’t at the moment. But that’s not what they did. They gave me figures, negotiated, performed a background check, we discussed start date, etc. I do not think involving a lawyer would be necessary but I am wondering whether I can potentially negotiate some sort of severance agreement with them.
      Dec 30, 2018
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      I have email correspondence detailing the offer figures, etc. to which the recruiter responds confirming. In fact, I’ve saved all correspondence. So I do have something in writing, alas it’s not a formal offer letter.
      Dec 30, 2018
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      But written offers can be rescinded as well. By no means do they guarantee anything. People who have written offers rescinded may or may not receive severance. So it’s a folly to imply that a written offer will guarantee that you’re able to seek redress.
      Dec 30, 2018
  • Facebook / Eng UR9swB
    Lol verbal offer doesn’t mean shit. You’re not entitled to a job with them, move on.
    Dec 30, 2018 0
  • Apple
    diting

    Apple

    BIO
    Someone who thinks that if you fill out a profile in detail it is hardly blind.
    ditingmore
    I am very sorry this has happened to you. It sucks. As others have said, there is no “redress” and based on what you have said, they are totally screwed up internally and you are most likely very fortunate that you have found this out without having to be there. Your best option is to tell the recruiter that when they have an actual offer, they should let you know, but you might have had other things happen and you hope they understand.
    Dec 30, 2018 1
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      Thanks for the response. I told recruiting to reach out when they have any updates. That was in Oct. But from that date, I haven’t reached out to them. As I said in the original post, I’ve moved on-I do not believe they will follow through with a written offer. Anyway, I guess I just have to do more research about this. I was wondering if anyone knew of someone who had been through something similar.
      Dec 30, 2018
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • New HhAR03
      OP
      Did I say anything about a lawsuit? I don’t feel like this is a very legitimate response to the question I posed.
      Dec 30, 2018
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      I think your problem is that you are commenting with authority and snark on a matter in which you seem to know next to nothing. An offer letter is not a contract. Do you not know the difference between an offer letter and an employment contract? Publications such as BizJournal seem to think that a verbal offer can have similar weight to a written offer when dealing with claims of damages, severance, etc. Blind is obviously not the best forum for inquiring into this issue.
      Dec 30, 2018
  • Veritas Khiar
    Been in this exact situation about 11 years ago. Got the verbal offer, negotiated, and told wait for CEO signature which never came.

    Later they told me that they acquired a company and all hiring was on hold. By the way, the company went down after that.

    This is not unusual particularly for large companies that left hand dose not know what right hand is doing. The business unit has a job req but finance might not budgeted.

    Don’t take it personal and remember is not over until is over and then maybe not. Keep all your options always open.
    Dec 30, 2018 1
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      I appreciate the response. The strange thing is that they’re not even that large, in terms of number of employees, especially compared to my last employer. 5000 versus 400,000. But they seem to be a bit of a mess regardless. I have moved on and I’m under no illusion that a written offer is coming. I just wanted to see what sort of recourse might be possible.
      Dec 30, 2018
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    How could you have a harm? You agree a contract wasn’t formed by admitting to waiting for a written offer.
    Dec 31, 2018 3
    • Veritas Khiar
      It was a verbal contract and like any contract you expect good faith and reasonable timing to execution.
      Dec 31, 2018
    • OpenTable Meliodas
      Contracts require an exchange of consideration and a meeting of the minds, neither of those things happened.
      Dec 31, 2018
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      Well. The whole thing is confusing. Because an offer letter is technically not a contract. Companies pay particular attention to the verbiage-not outlining the precise duration of employment, etc. to ensure the offer letter is not a contract. All the offer letter outlines is start date, salary, annual bonus, sign on/relocation, potential probation period, and the fact that employment is at will.
      Dec 31, 2018
  • New / Eng
    Sqrtof-1

    New Eng

    PRE
    Amazon, Facebook, Google
    Sqrtof-1more
    Was it a bank? I had a similar experience at a bank.
    Dec 31, 2018 1
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      Not a bank. It’s a data center company
      Dec 31, 2018
  • New
    Mr.Green

    New

    PRE
    Amazon
    Mr.Greenmore
    I just want to know who it is. I have an idea but don't want to put them on blast. Heard about this happening to a few others.
    Dec 30, 2018 1
    • New HhAR03
      OP
      It’s a data center company. It’s not a place that’s popular on Blind. I had never heard of it before applying and I suspect most on Blind haven’t. But it’s publicly traded with a respectable valuation of about 40bn.
      Dec 31, 2018
  • New
    VvvA68

    New

    PRE
    Sogeti
    VvvA68more
    I had this happen last year over the course of nine months including me taking three days off work to travel to interview. In total, I met with 20+ people. I got a verbal offer, negotiated up, got the yes and was told the written offer was coming. I followed-up twice asking for status. After getting nowhere with a recruiter, I messaged the CTO and Hiring Manager, copying the recruiter. I said it appeared that the direction had changed and I was disappointed, etc. I got an immediate reply from the embarrassed hiring manager — “So sorry! Our plans have changed. Please stay in touch.” It was a considerable investment of my time and a total reflection on the dysfunction of that organization. I think I dodged a bullet.
    Jan 18 0
  • New / Product
    dangnabbit

    New Product

    PRE
    Microsoft
    dangnabbitmore
    Short answer is no, stay moved on. If they couldn’t get their act together to properly hire (or not hire) you in 7 months, they certainly aren’t going to be able to execute on a non-standard severance package in any reasonable amount of time. And this is assuming they would even be inclined to consider it outside of a lawsuit settlement.

    All the best with getting back on your feet. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot of painful lessons from this experience that will serve you well.
    Dec 31, 2018 0

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