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Offer accepted - legally and moral consequences of doing so.

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by norwichred, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Of course, morally and legally are VERY different issues and morally I feel really bad about this situation and that will probably be the ultimate deal breaker.


    An interesting situation. Let's say, for arguments sake, that you had accepted an offer at a school. Many had cautioned you against it, but you felt in your circumstances it was best for you, your partner and your children. You still stand by that decision - at the time.

    However, lets assume that someone becomes aware of that situation via a well known internet forum and makes a recommendation of a school that may be interested in you. You make contact with them, and you end up with an offer of a position at another school in the same very small country that is a better offer. Better package all round.

    Of course, I guess the moral decision is to stick with the first offer that you have accepted. But as no legal contract has been signed just what would you do?
  2. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    You KNOW the answer already.
    You've accepted it. Take it.
    Powergnome3 likes this.
  3. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Dear Applicant

    We are retracting our offer of employment, as we have since found a candidate who is not only better qualified but will accept a lower salary.

    We hope you have not been too inconvenienced and you understand our position as no contract has been signed. We do not consider your verbal acceptance a contract.

    XN School
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. FromEuropeToEurope

    FromEuropeToEurope New commenter

    I have to say Rouxx brings up a good point.

    How would you feel if you received an email like that? The first school in question saw something in you and offer you a position. You did not have to go through loop holes to get in. They gave you an offer and you accepted it.

    Like the saying goes, your word is your bond. If you don't honor it, neither will anyone else.
    Scenario : You back out of your agreement with the 1st school, 2nd school gets wind and backs out of their agreement.
    JohnJCazorla and ed717 like this.
  5. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    It is an interesting one I know, and I’m sounding out because things can be different in different countries, professions and cultures.

    For example my partner is a nurse. A few years ago she was looking for a new job and got offered one. She couldn’t reach agreement over hours even though the offer had been accepted and the company pulled out.

    A week later she interviewed and accepted another job in the hospital she was already working in. Everything was agreed and she was ready to start and first company came back and agreed hours and offered payrise for inconvenience.

    She explained to hospital and they said “no problem you have to do right by your family” and agreed completely she should take original offer.

    So things do vary from sector to sector and country to country.
  6. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Very important point there, that she went back to the hospital and asked their thoughts. It changes the scenario.
    Not that I recommend trying that.
    “Dear School 1,
    After I accepted your offer, I reached out to another school, sought and obtained employment. How do you feel about me walking away?”
    Take care that you don’t lose both offers. If school one finds out you kept seeking other jobs, they might rescind their offer, and all the major recruiting agencies will say they’re within their rights.
    If school 2 finds out you applied while already attached to another school, same deal.
    Even if you start employment, you’ll still be at risk. In this small country, your presence is likely to become known to both schools, and, Lucy, you’ll have some ‘splaining to do. It could be grounds for firing.
    Would a school really want to take a chance on someone who didn’t honor their word?
  7. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Thanks - school two know I’m under offer but not that it was accepted.

    I’ll tell them I had to accept 1st offer and that I need to withdraw.

    Onus is on them then to decide what to do.
  8. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Another interesting question. What if you accept an offer from the school, then you see the contract and it stinks? For example - no sick pay, something you don't agree with it.

    How would you feel then having turned down the other offer?

    Would it be morally bad to withdraw at that stage? That happened at my present place. I accepted an offer, felt it would be bad to turn it down then the contract had loads of stuff in it like bank holidays coming out of holiday entitlement, and no sick pay and lots of other stuff.
  9. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    It comes down to personal integrity. As in, do you have any?
    Helen-Back likes this.
  10. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    This is different. Why are you accepting a job without knowing the full details?
    spanboy likes this.
  11. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I haven’t signed a contract, I’ve accepted an offer which is basically a salary, contribution towards housing, and an offer of a “discount’ on school fees for my kids without stipulating how much.

    The contract will come on receipt of all documentation, which I’m still getting copies of.

    If I had signed a contract I wouldn’t even be considering this.

    And I do have integrity which is why I’m asking this question.
  12. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    Sorry, can’t edit on an iPad. I suppose it comes down to difference between offer and contract, and t what stages of process you are morally and then legal;y bound.
  13. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    I just noticed you said 'same very small country'.

    I'd be very wary. The second school might not like it. Not that you'd accepted the first one, but that you'd misled them about it.

    You could end up with nothing here. Your call.

  14. FromEuropeToEurope

    FromEuropeToEurope New commenter

    I have to disagree here, in the above example two parties could not reach an agreement and mutually went their separate ways. (Not sure how they can offer something without specifics)
    In your example, it is you backing out of an agreement (not contract). In my opinion, backing out would be unprofessional, again in my personal opinion.

    Legally you are not obligated to anything because you haven't signed anything. However, I always go back to "My word is my bond".
  15. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I've been in a position where one school were willing to pay another school to release me from a contract. It didn't come to that as the position wasn't right anyway but it was a bizarre situation.

    I would honour the first one. You never know what is going to turn round and bite you in the ass.
  16. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    It sounds Iike you're reading the contract with a mind of someone who doesn't want to sign it and so convincing yourself that it's morally ok
  17. norwichred

    norwichred Occasional commenter

    I’m not reading any contract as I don’t have one to read yet. It’s just an offer, one page,with a salary and accommodation offer on it.
  18. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    'Let's say, for arguments sake, that you had accepted an offer at a school.'

    Let's say, for arguments sake, that you do have moral integrity. Assuming this to be the case, then there isn't any need for further questioning etc.

    You've accepted an offer made in good faith, so you should act in good faith and follow through.
  19. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    I don't get how acting with integrity becomes some sort of moral dilemma. There is a right course of action and a wrong course.
  20. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Which, as you probably know, is the generally done thing in int'l teaching. Both parties treat is as a contract as the signing of the actual contract is dependent on many other factors and timelines can vary wildly from location to location.

    Have schools been known to back out after the offer has been extended and accepted? Yes, it happens and is not right but the school does what it feels it must (generally because the position has not worked out the way they though, drop in relevant students, etc., rather than because they found a better, cheaper candidate).

    And yes, you situation is fraught with opportunities for regret and what ifs, but you knew that was likely to happen when you continued job searching after having accepted the first job. I will say do what is best for you and your family in the long term, no one else will put you/them at the top of their priorities. The only problem is that no one really knows what the best choice is because no one can say how it will/would work out.

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