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Can An Employer Withdraw A Job Offer In The UK?

In the United Kingdom, an employer can withdraw a job offer at any time before the employee has accepted it. Once the employee has accepted the offer, the employer can only withdraw it in certain circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at the law surrounding the withdrawal of job offers.

Are job offers legally binding?

The first thing to understand is that, in the UK, a job offer is not considered a legally binding contract until it is accepted by the employee. This means that, until the employee has accepted the offer, the employer is free to withdraw it without providing a reason.

For example, the employer may have made the offer in error, or the company may have changed its mind about the position. In these cases, the employer can simply withdraw the offer without any legal consequences.

Post offer-acceptance

However, once the employee has formally accepted the offer, the situation changes. At this point, the offer becomes a legally binding contract, and the employer can only withdraw it in certain circumstances.

For instance, the employer may be able to withdraw the offer if the employee has provided false information on their job application or during the interview process. In this case, the employer would need to have evidence of the employee's dishonesty, and would need to show that this was a serious enough issue to justify withdrawing the offer.


Another circumstance in which an employer may be able to withdraw a job offer is if the employee fails to meet certain conditions of the offer. For example, if the offer was conditional on the employee passing a criminal background check, and the employee fails the check, the employer may be able to withdraw the offer.

It's important to note that, even in these circumstances, the employer must follow certain procedures when withdrawing a job offer. One such criterion is that the employer must give the employee reasonable notice of the withdrawal, and must provide a valid reason for the withdrawal.

Inappropriate withdrawal

If the employer fails to follow these procedures, the employee may be able to take legal action against the employer for breach of contract. In this case, the employee may be entitled to compensation for any losses they have suffered as a result of the withdrawal of the job offer.

Overall, while an employer can withdraw a job offer in the UK, they must be careful to do so in a legal and fair manner. Failure to follow the proper procedures can result in legal action being taken against the employer.

Whether you’re an employer or employee, if you find yourself in a position where you’re unsure of the legality of a job offer withdrawal, it’s important to seek legal advice from an employment law specialist like Weightmans Solicitors.

As with all legal matters, the legality will depend on various specific case-specific variables that will each need to be considered in turn, making it very difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all answer in a short blog post.



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