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Keep your word: Reversing oral job offer can result in fraud claim

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

Charles Cohen says he walked out of a job interview with an oral offer for a new job with an e-business service provider, a company that did work for his current employer. The deal included a higher salary and two-year employment guarantee. Cohen and his wife then quit their jobs and planned to relocate.

The problem: Cohen says his old boss called the chairman of the e-business company and complained that it had lured away one of his key employees. The e-business company downgraded the job offer several times, then withdrew it.

Cohen sued and a court allowed his case to go to trial, saying it satisfied all the elements of a fraud claim. (Cohen v. Entangible.com, No. WMN-00-1168, D. Md., 2000)

Advice: Too many hiring managers think job agreements aren't official until something is on paper. Not true. Make sure all of your hiring managers realize that they can be held to their oral promises, too.

Also, consider the negative effects of luring employees away from a client or competitor before you make the move. As you can see, trying to cover your tracks will only dig you a deeper hole.

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