Yesterday I accepted a job offer and signed a contract for that offer.

However today I have received a offer that is many magnitudes better, I wasn't expecting it to come in at all.

Is it legal to just tell the other company that I am going to go with the new offer?

This is in the UK, if it matters.


  • Related – Robbie Dee Feb 28 '19 at 12:48
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    What does the contract say? – Twyxz Feb 28 '19 at 12:50
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    Unless there's penalty (very rare) specified in the contract you signed, otherwise you should be always free to inform that you can't attend the new job. But consider a bridge burned when you are doing this. – tweray Feb 28 '19 at 13:11
  • You might get pushback having signed the contract. The company you signed the contract with could try to get some of the cost of reopening the recruitment process from you. – Karl Brown Feb 28 '19 at 13:16

This is in the U.K. Make sure you get the other offer. You don’t want to mess the first offer up and then have the other offer fall through. As soon as you actually have the other job, you call the first company immediately and tell them that you changed your mind and what you need to do to cancel your contract.

They will be annoyed. Very annoyed. But they are unlike to cause you trouble (German companies are likely to cause you trouble, just out of principle, but you’re in the U.K. ). They may threaten you, but are unlikely to follow through with it. Any agency you used will also be pissed off with you in a major way. So don’t do this again.

  • I beg to differ, living in Germany any having had a candidate who canceled before starting. The reason is, it is very questionable if the employer has any legal repercussions against such an candidate at all, and if so the possible returns in no way justify the hassle. Actually, if it is not a very high position, which should have a fine in the contract for such events, no one will bother! – Daniel Feb 28 '19 at 15:29

The most likely outcome is that nothing will happen however you have signed a legally binding contract with them and in theory the company is entitled to make you work out your notice period (either the statutory 1 week or contractual notice period whichever is longer) and it you refuse they could sue you for breach of contract.

It's extremely unlikely (I've never known any company to actually do this) but it's legally possible.

  • Also note that they would have to demonstrate actual loss as a result of your breach of contract. For instance, if they'd hired you specifically for a time-sensitive piece of work that only you have the skills to work on, you could be liable for the cost of losing that piece of work. However, if your notice period would mostly be shadowing others while you got up to speed, the company would have a hard time proving any actual loss. For that reason most companies just chalk it up to experience, but if you're genuinely worried, speak to a lawyer for legal advice. – delinear Feb 28 '19 at 17:24

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