A reader writes:
My husband has been offered a new contract via email. His response was:
"With all honesty I cannot but accept this offer."
The employer replied:
"I don't know how to interpret your reply, but what I understand is that you decline the offer."
He replied to this email clarifying that his answer was positive and that he wants the job. Does the employer have the right to ask somebody else for this job? We thought that my husband's email was very clear. We replied immediately clarifying the situation. This took place on Saturday. Today is Monday and we still haven't received a reply.
We tried to call him but there is no reply.
Any info/advice would be grateful appreciated. Since we clarified with an email straightaway that he wants the job, can the employer still say that he declined it?
The issue isn't whether or not the employer "can say" he declined the job. The issue is that there's been a major miscommunication that your husband needs to clear up immediately.
You husband should call this guy, and the HR person, immediately. If he doesn't reach them, he should leave each a clear message saying something like, "I think there was a misunderstanding. I replied to accept the job, but my wording seems to have given the opposite impression. To be clear, I accepted your offer. I am now quite anxious that my reply was misunderstood, so please get in touch with me as soon as you're able -- I'm eager to set a start date."
No reasonable person would rescind a job offer in this situation. But, on the other hand, there are plenty of unreasonable people out there, so one never knows. You can't force an employer to be reasonable, but then your husband shouldn't want to work for someone who would pull an offer over a small instance of confusion anyway, so sometimes things like this are good screening mechanisms to keep you from working for an ass.
(By the way, when you write "we called" and "we emailed," I hope you mean your husband, not you or both of you, given that a spouse should not be contacting the employer.)
Of course, your letter was written more than two weeks ago, so my advice is coming way too late to be of use to you (an unfortunate effect of my mail overload). I hope you'll write in and let us know what ended up happening.