Know When to Rescind the Job Offer

Most employment offers are extended and accepted without a great deal of complications.  On occasion, there may be situations where you will need to rescind an extended offer.  Just as a good hire can boost the bottom line, so too can a bad hire drain finances and wear down team morale.  It is possible to avoid a potential last-minute bad hire by rescinding an offer.

Why You Should Rescind 

Examples of reasons you may want or need to rescind an offer:

  • Background check failed 
  • Drug screen failed 
  • Physical failed 
  • Candidate falsified information on their application
  • Candidate did not accept the offer within the agreed upon time
  • Candidate indicates poor character towards the end of the offer process 
  • Candidate has unrealistic requests to make changes to the offer 
  • Candidate has a counteroffer from current employer that they want to accept 

Man hands shaking on an agreement - showing their shirts are white and jackets are professional black. Line between hands showing agreement is broken
Some offers are best taken back

Do Not Rescind Based On These Reasons 

Reasons why you should not rescind an offer: Discrimination. For example, during the job offer the candidate informs you that they are diabetic, but they have it under control.  You become concerned about how this might impact your health insurance rates and you want to rescind the offer. Do not rescind that offer unless you want to fear being sued under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).  Another more common example might be where you make an offer to a female, who informs you during the offer process that she is pregnant.  Do not rescind that offer unless you want to fear being sued under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. 

A judge gavel coming down on text that reads, Discrimination
Discrimination is against the law

How to Rescind

If you must rescind an offer it is always best to do so prior to it being accepted in writing, otherwise you may expose yourself to liability.  Talk to a lawyer to examine the exact circumstances and the language of your offer letter to assess your options.

Provide very little detail in feedback when rescinding an offer. Give an inch of feedback and expect a mile of arguing and potential lawsuits. 

Man hands typing on computer whiled dressed in business suite
Put the rescinding of the offer in writing

Protective Verbiage 

A properly worded offer letter will make any necessary rescinding go as smoothly as possible

Following are some sample protective wording to include in your offer letter. 

Clearly state the mandatory conditions for the position: This offer is contingent upon the successful completion of your background investigation and pre-employment drug testing (which must be completed within 72 hours of your acceptance to this offer).

Clearly state that the offer is for at-will employment: This letter is intended to outline your offer and does not constitute an employment contract between you and CompanyX.  Your employment will be at-will and not guaranteed. 

All offer letters should state that the relationship is ‘at will’.  Unless you truly intend to create a binding employment contract, do not use the term “employment contract” in your offer letter. 

Woman writing on a message pad
Carefully word the offer letter

Knowing how & when to rescind creates a win-win situation. 

*The above information is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice

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