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Can I back out of a signed contract?

January 26, 2016

Question:

Jennifer,

I signed a contract for a job but another employer just got back to me and may have a better offer for me available in the next few weeks. What do you think? Can I back out now?
 
Thanks, Dr. I
 
Answer:

Well, the right answer, without making any presumptions or conjecturing, is I need to see the signed contract. The agreement may have language stating penalties apply if you terminate prior to the start date, or penalties if you fail to provide proper notice.  Along that thought process, if you back out (may depend on when) and the employer can make a claim you caused him/her to lose the ability to hire in an adequate time period, or coverage has suffered, and income has suffered, or money was lost in your recruitment, you may find yourself party to a law suit!  Crazier things have happened! If you really feel the fit is not right, don't sign!  If you have signed, provide your notice as professionally as possible and as soon as you know you plan to back out.  You may wish to have counsel deliver the news, depending on the circumstances...

  

 
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Have a question or comment for Jennifer?
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