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Can an employer rescind a job offer?

Employment law in the Alberta region as well as other areas of Canada is pretty comprehensive. However, in any legal field, there are areas that may be a bit shadowy. While the law makes it clear what employers can and cannot do in terms of employment, the time leading up to employment can be one of these shadowy areas.

A lot of things happen when an employer extends a job offer. The potential employee may hand in a notice of resignation to his or her current employer. The employee may also make more extravagant purchases than normal in anticipation of earning more money. If the job offer is then rescinded, the worker may discover that he or she is suddenly in hot water.

Even though this area of employment law may not be 100 percent clear, there are a couple of circumstances in which the employer can withdraw a job offer. The first of these centers on conditional job offers. For example, an employer offers you a job but tells you that the job hinges on positive reference checks or background checks. In such a case, if the employer receives a bad reference or spots a problem during a background check, he or she can rescind the offer.

The second circumstance may arise if the potential employer discovers an applicant has not been truthful during his or her recruitment. For example, if an applicant misrepresents his or her education credentials or prior work experience, the employer can legally choose to take the job offer back.

If you are asking this question because you believe an employer has rescinded a job offer illegally, you should probably seek legal advice from an employment lawyer. This can help you determine if the job offer was rescinded in compliance with Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Regulation.

Source: HRM Canada, "When can you rescind a job offer?," accessed Oct. 12, 2016

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