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Promissory Estoppel and Detrimental Reliance South Carolina

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  • Promissory Estoppel and Detrimental Reliance South Carolina

    I received an offer for employment from an employer in South Carolina. During the interview I was presented with the offer letter which I was asked to sign and so did the hiring manager. The job was to begin the following Monday, which meant that I would have to leave my current job without working a 2 week notice unless they agreed to waive the policy. Luckily my current manager agreed to waive notice as she understood this would be a better position for me since I was commuting at present 3 hours a day. On Monday I received a voice message from the hiring manager that they had decided to go in another direction with another candidate, which means that I now I have no job because I had to resign from my previous employer to be able to start as agreed. Do I have any recourse for damages under Promissory Estoppel or Detrimental Reliance based on the offer and acceptance from the new employer causing me to suffer financial loss?

  • #2
    The best I can say is "maybe". PE/DR claims are generally more common in a Contract Law rather then a Labor Law context. The big PE/DR case that everyone likes to cite is Grouse. That was a CA case that was upheld on appeal. It also created a firestorm of "the sky is falling" articles and is in a different jurisdiction then SC. This is not DIY stuff and not something that someone on a free Internet website can give you good answers to. You have the minimal requirements for a PE/DR claim. What you need is to figure out how all prior similar cases in SC were decided. Then if you can find supporting case law, and can find an attorney, you can roll the dice and see what happens.

    The key thing that people sometimes ignore with cases like Grouse is that there is no legal "right" to the next job (absent a formal contract to that effect). At best, we have damages related to quitting the old job. And the facts on Grouse were so over the top, the new employer went out of their way to act like a complete a**, which made it easier for the court to find for Grouse. But the decision was very narrowly written. And it still caused enormous disagreement in the legal community. There is a very well establish legal principal called Employment At Will which is very seriously defended in the labor law community. What few labor law related PE/DR claims I have read were very careful to tapdance around Employment At Will.
    Last edited by DAW; 07-26-2011, 09:01 PM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      First things first. Do you have a copy of the signed offer letter?
      I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.


      • #4
        Yes I do, signed by the hiring manager and myself.


        • #5
          You might run your situation by an attorney & see what they think/get their opinion.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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