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I got a job offer from company A to start in ~3 months from now, and they want me to sign their contract within one week. Now, I am also awaiting an offer from company B, which already expressed they want to hire me but, due to internal bureaucracy, they need to approve my hiring in a meeting before creating the contract, and this will happen a few days after the deadline from company A. I am more interested in B than in A, but the offer from A is not bad. So my options are:

  1. Sign with A and tell B I don't care anymore. Let's call this the safe option.
  2. Reject A and await for B. Let's call this the risky option, since there is a little (but nonzero) chance that B will not send me the contract, then I may end up with nothing.
  3. Sign with A and, should I get the contract from B, then sign with B and cancel A.

My question is about option 3. What are the implications of signing with A and two days after this I want to cancel this contract, before even starting to work (which will happen some months from now). For sure they will hate me, but other than that, from the legal point of view, what are my obligations? Do I have to pay a fine? Do I go to jail? This is in Switzerland. I'm sure I am not the first one in this situation.

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    Probably a better fit for Workplace.se Commented Mar 27 at 14:01
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    Does the contract have any information about not starting the job, quitting within some time (3 months, a year, etc)?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 27 at 18:04
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    "Do I go to jail?" Almost surely not.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 27 at 19:32
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    It depends what the A contract says about "cancelling". It also depends on what 'world' you are in. Some job sectors have quite a small pool of professionals, who are known – have reputation – in their industry. Do you wish to be known as a "grabber / welcher"? Commented Mar 27 at 20:09
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    You could ask company A for a week's grace in signing, and hope they don't withdraw their offer. Commented Mar 27 at 20:22

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Employment contracts generally contain terms governing the termination of employment, because everyone recognizes that employment is not forever. A well prepared contract will also cover the possibility of either party changing their mind before the worker's start date. Read your contract to see what it says. If you don't like the possible consequences of signing and then pulling out, negotiate for different contract terms or, more realistically, for a later signing date.

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