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I am considering accepting this job offer but am in the interview process with another company that I should hear back from soon. This current offer is for a 3-month contract and the one I am waiting on for is a Full-Time position.

My question is:

If I accept this job offer via email, is it legally binding in case I want to rescind the acceptance if I get the better job?

The email offer I received is below:

Hello [Me],

Great news!!!

[Manager] would like to offer you for [job role] while we are pending the reference checks. As they do not want to lose you while we wait.

Manager: [Manager Name]

Start date: 5/3/2021

Once you accept the offer, please confirm the following details:

Are you able to start on the start date listed above:

Do you have time off already planned in the first 90 days of employment?:

Do you prefer a PC or Mac:

Your complete Address for shipment:

Phone number:

Personal Email:

Reply awaited,

[Recruiting Manager]

There is no place to sign and I am curious if accepting this offer via email before receiving additional documentation to sign or beginning the actual job/onboarding process is legally binding in any way in case it's better for me to back out and take the other job (if I get it).

They said they needed the response by this afternoon, but I did send an email asking for more time to consider accepting the offer. As of right now, I haven't heard back from them on this extension. I've been out of work due to Covid and need a new job, but I'd hate to be locked in to a 3 month position only to go through this again when there's the possibility of a better position just on the horizon. Any help sorting this out would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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    It depends on the jurisdiction. What country/state are you in?
    – bdb484
    Apr 16 at 17:09
  • Washington State Apr 16 at 17:10
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Washington is an at-will employment state, meaning that either the employer or the employee is generally free to terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason.

If you send a letter accepting the offer, you indicate your willingness to work, but it is not really "binding" in the sense you seem to be thinking of. If the company gets an offer from an outside vendor to perform your job at half the cost they would have paid you, the company is probably free to fire you -- even before you've started working. And there's no reason to think it wouldn't do that.

Likewise, you're free to quit the job -- even before you ever start. Just send another e-mail and let them know you got a better offer. And it wouldn't hurt to use that offer to negotiate. Maybe the first employer is willing to match or beat the other offer, though it doesn't sound like this would be the case in your specific situation.

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    Thanks for the response. This is what I was thinking but just wanted to make sure I wasn't locking myself in. If I don't get the extension by the EOD, I'll reply with an acceptance and hopefully, that'll buy me the time to sort out the other job, too. Thanks, again! Apr 16 at 17:22
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In the US, a contract requires a consideration. That means if I agree to something I need to get something in return. Because employment generally means getting paid for the work you did in the past, employees are free to quit whenever they like. Me agreeing to work in the future for a future consideration isn't binding. Further, no company will make you work for them if you don't want to. Once you start working, you can quite on day 1, day 14, or day 1000. Obviously exceptions exist. The military doesn't let you quite because almost everyone would at some point.

That doesn't mean that reneging on an accepted job offer is a good idea. You may find that the world isn't as large as you think, and actions like this might follow you for a long time.

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  • Thanks for the response. I know rescinding an offer might not be the best idea, but right now, I need to keep my options open. It may wind up becoming a FT position but I didn't want to close off the better opportunity in case they offer that position to me, too. Just covering my bases. Thanks again for the advice! Apr 16 at 18:18

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