Cynthia Lazar answers Labour & Employment Questions in The Globe and Mail – Aug 2023

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Article2023 | 08 | 10

If I Accept A Job Offer, Must I Legally Take It Even If I Receive A Better Offer A Few Days Later?

Cynthia Lazar answers Labour & Employment Questions in The Globe and Mail

men writing with pen

Cynthia Lazar answers labour & employment questions in The Globe and Mail.


I accepted a job offer a few days ago, but another company I was also interviewing with just offered me a much better position. Aside from burning bridges with that first company, do I have any obligation to continue with the first company if I already accepted their job offer?


This happens more often than you might think, particularly when employees are in high demand. It is a tough situation, but if you are forthright and polite with the first company, you may avoid burning bridges.

In terms of your legal obligation, once you accept an offer, orally or in writing, you are under contract, and both your employment contract (or offer letter) and the employment standards legislation in your province or territory should be considered.

Many employment contracts require the employee to provide a certain amount of advance notice of resignation. You should offer to work out that notice period to meet your contractual obligation and to help the company while a replacement is sought. The company will most likely refuse the offer, but it will be seen as a goodwill gesture. If the company has spent any money in relocating you to take the job, that amount should be repaid.

Employment standards legislation also provides for the amount of notice of resignation an employee has to give an employer. Depending on the jurisdiction, this usually ranges from zero to two weeks in the first short while (often 30 to 90 days).

If you fail to give the notice required by contract or legislation, it is possible that the company may sue you for “wrongful resignation” but this is unlikely, as these lawsuits are almost never worth the expense.

If there is a union at your workplace, other rules may apply, and you should consult with your union representative.

Cynthia Lazar is a lawyer and workplace investigator with Taylor McCaffrey LLP in Winnipeg.

DISCLAIMER: This article is presented for informational purposes only. The views expressed are solely the author(s)’ and should not be attributed to any other party, including Taylor McCaffrey LLP. While care is taken to ensure accuracy, before relying upon the information in this article you should seek and be guided by legal advice based on your specific circumstances. The information in this article does not constitute legal advice or solicitation and does not create a solicitor-client relationship. Any unsolicited information sent to the author(s) cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

If you would like legal advice, kindly contact the author(s) directly or the firm's Chief Operating Officer at, or 204.988.0356.

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Cynthia Lazar
Cynthia Lazar