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Employment rejected because of pregnant

YlangYlang
Member
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:20:43 AM  (Last updated: Mon, 03 Aug 2015 09:11:59 AM)
Hi,My friend go for interview without tell interviewer about her pregnancy and interviewer also don't ask.There is no application form to fill in and she got an offer.Her starting working day should be on 3 August 2015.She never tell management about her pregnancy.She is now 7 months pregnant.After being advised by friends, to be honest,she emailed HR about her pregnancy before her commencement date.Unfortunately,HR terminate her offer and said that management board rejected her employment.So,is it legal for management to do so?
KL Siew
Administrator
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:42:53 PM

Yes, the company can cancel the offer before employment commences. I think it is better that way rather than having problems after commencement as the pregnancy is quite advanced. She can always look for employment after confinement if she wants.

SuharinKL
Contributor
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:17:13 PM
Originally posted by YlangYlang on Mon, 03 Aug 2015 09:11:59 AM
Hi,My friend go for interview without tell interviewer about her pregnancy and interviewer also don't ask.There is no application form to fill in and she got an offer.Her starting working day should be on 3 August 2015.She never tell management about her pregnancy.She is now 7 months pregnant.After being advised by friends, to be honest,she emailed HR about her pregnancy before her commencement date.Unfortunately,HR terminate her offer and said that management board rejected her employment.So,is it legal for management to do so?

Hye there,

With all due respect to KL Siew's advice. In my humble opinion, if your friend already signed and accepted the offer given by the Company, then there is already a valid contract agreed between both parties effectively on the date when your friend signed it (regardless the commencement date). Henceforth, the Company cannot simply unilaterally terminate the offer as this may amounts to breach of contract. 

However, the Company still have room to argue as mentioned by KL Siew pertaining to the 'commencement date'.

The way i look at it, it's just like we sign an agreement to buy a house:- we sign the sales and purchase agreement (sign employment letter/offer) today, but we will only get the vacant possession (commencement date of employment) of the house sometime later. But in the meantime while waiting for the vacant possession (commencement of the employment), there is already legally binding contract between both parties.

In your friend's case, i believe he/she already have a cause of action against the Company for breach of contract and may entitle for damages.

Tq

suharinsulaiman@gmail.com

KL Siew
Administrator
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:57:25 PM

Hi Suhinrin, I must say I am not well versed or qualified in contract law. Does that mean the contract is irrevocable and it also applies to the situation where candidates rejecting the offer previously accepted? You advice or guidance will surely be useful for those who wish to reject offer previously accepted by them. Such queries are quite common in this forum.
 

SuharinKL
Contributor
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 06:07:04 PM
Originally posted by KL Siew on Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:57:25 PM

Hi Suhinrin, I must say I am not well versed or qualified in contract law. Does that mean the contract is irrevocable and it also applies to the situation where candidates rejecting the offer previously accepted? You advice or guidance will surely be useful for those who wish to reject offer previously accepted by them. Such queries are quite common in this forum.
 

Hai KL Siew,

Ya, it works both ways i.e. also in situation where candidates rejecting the offer previously accepted. 

Basically, in contract law, an agreement becomes binding to parties when the act of offering and accepting completed. Parties are bound by the terms stated in the agreement when it (the agreement) is signed (as a form of complete acceptance).

Thereafter, either parties who want to terminate the agreement must follow the termination clause ie the notice period or in lieu of notice. 

However, the other party may always argue (as defence to any legal suit) on the issue of 'commencement date' which in my opinion it doesnt carry much weight and the court may reluctant to accept it.

Hope that clarifies your query :)

KL Siew
Administrator
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 08:46:44 AM

Hi Suharin, Thank you for the info. Actually, in the forum there are good number of queries of such nature and I have been telling them that they could reject without touching so much on the contractual aspect and the legal implications. Below is an extract of one of the previous queries. What should be the best answer to queries so that they will not feel misled? I would like use this post as a benchmark for answering future queries of similar nature.

"Dear Administrator,

I need help for below matters:

Is it possible for an employer especially a public listed company to sue us if we want to reject the offer after we've signed the Letter Offer.

I've already signed the Offer Letter with one Public Listed company last week, unfortunately..i've just recieved another offer from a Singapore's based company "Pte Ltd" which salary offered  is much higher . Can the Public Listed company sue me if i reject their offer  after i signed it?

Your answer is highly appreciated

Thank You"

SuharinKL
Contributor
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 10:02:53 AM
Originally posted by KL Siew on Sun, 02 Aug 2015 08:46:44 AM

Hi Suharin, Thank you for the info. Actually, in the forum there are good number of queries of such nature and I have been telling them that they could reject without touching so much on the contractual aspect and the legal implications. Below is an extract of one of the previous queries. What should be the best answer to queries so that they will not feel misled? I would like use this post as a benchmark for answering future queries of similar nature.

"Dear Administrator,

I need help for below matters:

Is it possible for an employer especially a public listed company to sue us if we want to reject the offer after we've signed the Letter Offer.

I've already signed the Offer Letter with one Public Listed company last week, unfortunately..i've just recieved another offer from a Singapore's based company "Pte Ltd" which salary offered  is much higher . Can the Public Listed company sue me if i reject their offer  after i signed it?

Your answer is highly appreciated

Thank You"

Good Morning KL Siew,

Couldnt agree more with you that this is a quite common issue.

To answer you, it actually depends on case to case basis because there were cases where the offer/employment contract stated as follows:- "This agreement shall take effect and binding upon parties on the agreed commencement date of the said employment ". Therefore in this situation, it is safe to say that either parties may reject (before the commencement date) the offer as there is no legal binding agreement yet between them.

However, there were case where the offer/ employment contract silent on the effective date where it only mention the date of commencement. In this situation, it is my opinion that the effective date for the contract may take effect from the date when the candidate signed the employment contract because upon signing it, it can be said that there is already a complete offer and acceptance between parties, hence a legally binding contract existed.

Therefore, it is my humble opinion that when this situation happens, it is best to advice as follows:-

1) to enquire whether the offer/contract of employment expressly mention about the effective date of the agreement;

2) to enquire whether is it possible for the candidate to negotiate (to be released without any cost from the offer/ contract) with the employer should they want to terminate/reject the offer before the commencement date (in the event where the offer/contract of employment is silent on the effective date);

3) If the abovementioned negotiation is impossible, then it is best for the candidate to adhere to the agreed 'termination clause' i.e. by giving notice period or pay the in lieu of notice. By doing this, the candidate may reduce his/her risk from having to pay more cost in future if the employer opt to take a civil suit against him/her.

The contents of the above is vice versa where it also applicable to employer who wants to terminate/ retract their offer/employment contact which has been duly signed by the candidates.

Hope this would clarify your query.

KL Siew
Administrator
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 11:16:27 AM

Thank you Suharin,

Apart from telling them that they can change their mind, I am still reluctant to go into the unfamiliar territory of contract law, being a layman. Anyway, this has been a very fruitful discussion for me.

By the way, have you come across any local high court judgment or Industrial Court award pertaining to such rejection of accepted employment offer? That will be most helpful, if you have.

SuharinKL
Contributor
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 06:30:06 PM

Hye KL Siew,

One of the cases which i may share with you is the case of Ang Beng Teik v Pan Global Textile Berhad where the Court of Appeal decided as follows:-

"If one party to a contract of personal service were to repudiate it before the time for performance had arrived, there would be no breach of contract until the time for
performance
and no cause of action until then, unless the innocent party chose to
create one by accepting the repudiation.
"

On a plain reading of the above, the COA basically has decided that when one party repudiate (reject/retract) a contract before the time for performance (commencement date) and his/her intention to repudiate the said contract already made known and accepted by the other innocent party, then only breach of contract will happens.

Therefore coming back to our discussion, when a candidate rejected the duly signed/accepted offer and the said candidate's intention to reject the said offer already made known/informed to the employer, only then breach of contract will take place and thereafter may open to a civil suit. 

Hope my explanation serves your query well :)

KL Siew
Administrator
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 09:11:59 AM

Thank you again Suharin. I hope this post will provide a good read for our readers.

  This topic is closed