Can a Job Offer Be Rescinded Due to a Pending Criminal Charge?
If you have been given a job offer and accepted it, you’d likely assume that it’s a done deal and nothing should prevent you from starting your new job. However, things may not always be so simple. There are a variety of reasons why an employer may wish to rescind a job offer. Pending criminal charges are often one of them. However, potential employees will want to know, is it legal for an employer to rescind their job offer because of a pending criminal charge.
In a recent Globe and Mail article Rahul Soni, barrister and solicitor of Soni Law Firm, addresses a concern of someone who has had their job offer rescinded unexpectedly due to a criminal charge. In this scenario, the person in question had received a job offer as a mortgage specialist at a bank and had the offer revoked due to a pending assault charge related to domestic violence. In this post, we break down why it may be legal for an employer to rescind their job offer while also helping you know what you can do if a similar issue happens to you.
Can a Job Offer Be Rescinded due to a Pending Criminal Charge?
In the Globe and Mail article, Rahul Soni states that the answer to this question is, it depends. It is always a good idea to reach out to an employment lawyer with any concerns related to your employment. Let’s break down why, in this scenario, the rescinded offer could be acceptable.
The person in question in the Globe and Mail article was being hired by a bank. This can complicate the hiring process as banks and other companies may have specific hiring requirements. In the article, Rahul Soni states the following.
“Most banks will ask you to disclose whether you have been charged with any criminal offences. You are obligated to answer this question honestly. If you lied about this in the hiring process, the bank is justified in rescinding its job offer.”
If your employer has asked about criminal charges and you have lied, it is possible that your offer can be rescinded. Being truthful when starting an employee-employer relationship is important. It may be helpful to speak with an employment lawyer before disclosing information to a potential employer if you have legal concerns. Your employer may have a right to know about the nature of the charges if it relates to the type of work you do.
What Can I Do If My Job Offer Has Been Rescinded Due to a Pending Criminal Charge?
Sometimes an employer may be within their rights to rescind a job offer, while other times, it could be an infringement on your rights. As every person’s situation is unique, speaking with an employment lawyer is often your best option for understanding whether or not your employer has breached your rights. A possible scenario where rights may have been breached is outlined by Rahul Soni in the Globe and Mail article linked above.
“Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may be able to argue the rescinded offer if the reason for your termination was a result of your disability, such as a mental health condition, alcoholism, or drug addiction. If your disability resulted in your criminal charge, be sure to explain this connection and provide supporting medical information to the bank so they can better understand your situation, whether you can effectively fulfill your role, and their obligations to provide you with reasonable accommodations.”
It can be difficult to know whether you have any legal options when an employment offer is rescinded. In almost all cases, you should consider speaking with an employment lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help you to understand your rights as an employee and know what steps you can take if your rights have been breached. As all employer-employee relationships are unique, there is no standard answer to this question, and your personal circumstances will play a role in determining if your employers’ actions were lawful.