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Is it legal to quit before starting?

  • 23-07-2021 2:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ ito

    Hello there!

    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and we were wondering if it is legal to quit a job before you start on it... Let's say you accept an offer and you are starting in a couple of months, but suddenly you get another offer from another company, that you actually prefer.

    Can you "reject" after signing the contract?

    Thanks for reading,

    Post edited by Niamh on


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,849 ✭✭✭✭ endacl

    Short answer: yes

    Long answer: heh? Yes it is. Don’t be daft.

  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ ito

    I told her, she would have some problems if she was doing it or the company might sue her, but she is confident she won't have any problem :?

  • Registered Users Posts: 241 ✭✭ Bootsy

    If you’re thinking that once she signs the contract she’s legally bound to start the job…..I’ve rarely if ever heard of this being pursued. Maybe if she’s a CEO etc but the vast vast majority of times it’s totally fine (albeit a bit bad form to go back on your word).

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,306 ✭✭✭✭ jimmycrackcorm

    I've done this because I got a better job in the interim. The HR guy understood as they could not match the offer, but there is also no point you starting a new job only to give notice on the first day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 256 ✭✭ Echoes675

    I've actually done this twice in my career. Once two days before I was due to start (much better offer in a field that I am far more suited to) and once three days in (when the realities of the workplace made me run as fast as I could!)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ ito

    Well, my point is that the company has their right to pursue her, but I don't know if they would do it; it is not a CEO, it is a middle manager position.

    I have never done it, but I once did a referral for a guy, that accepted and a week after he rejected the position because his company made him a contra-offer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭ ito

    In Ireland? What did they tell you in the companies?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,494 ✭✭✭ BrokenArrows

    It likely would be a breach of contract however unless its a very very high level position CEO etc then you wont face any repercussions.

    I think the biggest repercussion would be that you would never get hired by that company in the future.

    Honestly id do it and take the higher paid role. The companies will not hesitate to cancel your job offer if anything changes on their end so really you dont need to have any loyalty to them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,796 ✭✭✭ Isambard

    due to start in a couple of months? That's more than adequate notice. JUst tell them things have changed and you won't be coming.

  • Registered Users Posts: 256 ✭✭ Echoes675

    One was in England when I was living there and the other was in Ireland.

    The first in England, I tried calling the contact number I had but ended up on an answer machine so left a message. This was a call centre job so didn't really feel bad about it. That message is the last contact I had with them.

    The one here in Ireland was an onsite IT engineer. Don't want to name names but the place was a total sh1tshow. No IT strategy worth speaking of. The three days I was there were the longest three days f my working life. The others in the office were not approachable and the person who I supposed to be reporting to didn't speak to me the whole time; it was a small office with three desks so not really a situation where he could have missed me. I rang the dept manager on the fourth morning and just said it's not for me. He tried to convince me to stay but I had made up my mind and he was alright about it.

    I ended up unemployed and living off savings for 3 months after that but it gave me the kick in the arse to go back to uni and get qualified. I'm now a software dev and love the work.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭ dudley72

    They signed the contract, did they not read it before as I expect it has a large section on termination etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,948 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    You'll be on probation for the first 6 to 12 months which means that either side can say it's not working see you. So once you've signed a contract with a probation period you can quit whenever you want in the probation period with zero repercussions, bar if you got relocation money/welcome money which will have to be paid back if they have that as part of the contract.