Rescinding an offer of employment

Hi, we offered a job on Christmas Eve with a start date of mid January. We have now been put into full lock down which means the team are working remotely, so no one is on site to complete an induction and we are unable to do this remotely due to the nature of the job.

The person acknowledges the difficulty and has agreed to changing their start date which is great. However we are conscious that if the lock down is extended further and as a tiny business we have to put our team on furlough or worse make redundancies, so this will impact further on the offer of employment.

Can you advise what options we may have including rescinding the offer of employment? Anyone who has been in a similar situation can you offer advice?

Many thanks

  • Did you give him a conditional or unconditional job offer? If it's an unconditional job offer and the contract is all signed and returned then i'd assume you will need to pay notice and go through a fair process. I've only even closed conditional job offers down where someone has met the conditions.
  • In reply to Alun Stowell:

    Thank you for the response.
    The conditional offer was made verbally in the first instance, followed up by an email. I’m just conscious that I do not want to mislead this person given the sudden change in governmental restrictions and impact on the business.

  • Hello Clayre,

    We were in a similar situation last year and made the decision to withdraw a couple of offers. These offers had been made in writing and start dates agreed, so therefore paid notice.

    I hope this helps.

  • In reply to Nicola Reed:

    Thanks Nikki
  • In reply to Nicola Reed:

    Nikki, can I ask were the contacts signed or just an offer when you paid notice?
  • In reply to Clayre Patricia:

    Just to observe: for a valid contract to be formed, there needs to have been offer *and* acceptance - not necessarily signed or written acceptance but some clear indication thereof. Even if you've issued even a written offer of employment but had no response back indicating acceptance, no contract of employment exists.

    IF a valid contract exists though, the only realistic possible defence to not paying due contractual notice to end it even before the offeree has started work might be 'frustration' via totally unforeseen lockdown etc etc. However, as far as I know it's never been tested whether or not the doctrine of frustration can be relied upon in such circumstances and usually therefore it's safer simply to pay due notice.
  • In reply to Clayre Patricia:

    Hello Clayre, they were signed and therefore a valid contract.