Once someone has accepted an ‘unconditional’ job offer, they’re in a legally binding contract of employment. However, a ‘conditional’ job offer can be withdrawn if the person doesn’t meet the employer’s conditions (eg satisfactory references and health record).

A job offer doesn’t have to be in writing, and nor does the acceptance - but it’s a good idea for employees to ask for and give something in writing.

Employees should wait until they get an unconditional offer before handing in their notice as a conditional offer could fall through.

If an employer withdraws their job offer

Once someone has accepted an offer they can only take action in certain situations.

Situation Action
The applicant has evidence that the employer discriminated against them when withdrawing the offer The applicant can take the employer to an employment tribunal
The employer has confirmed that the job offer was unconditional, or the applicant has met all conditions The applicant can sue the employer for ‘breach of contract’
The offer was conditional and the applicant didn’t meet the conditions The applicant can’t take any action

If a new employee changes their mind

If someone accepts an unconditional offer and then changes their mind, the employer can:

  • make them work out any contractual element of their notice
  • sue them for breach of contract

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.