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Question: Can an employer legally withdraw a prospective employee’s job offer before that particular individual actually begins working at the company?

It happens more frequently than one might think, but under a variety of different circumstances. There are many reasons why a company might rescind an offer of employment, such as: a candidate’s criminal history, failed drug test, or unsatisfactory background check results; negative references; falsification of application materials; budget cuts; cancelled or postponed projects or contracts with customers; installment of a new executive; an eleventh-hour, about-face decision change by the hiring manager; belated realization of previously unnoticed or overlooked evaluation-altering information about the candidate; unfavorable post-offer experience or interactions with the candidate; and many others.


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As a general rule in New Jersey, private employers may not conduct random drug testing of current employees except employees in “safety-sensitive” positions. Notwithstanding scant authority on what constitutes a “safety-sensitive” position, it is clear that to qualify, there must be a direct and immediate nexus between the employee’s job duties and a fairly significant safety risk. Absent such a connection, an employer cannot require its employees to submit to random drug testing, though pre-employment testing and testing in light of a particularized suspicion are permissible.
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