menonrajeev Started The Discussion:
Hi all,

This question is further to reading through the detailed post on not joining after accepting an 'Offer' Letter.

As against an 'Offer' letter, in my case, it was an 'Appointment' Letter...
I received an (unsolicited) offer from company 'New' while working with company 'Old'... Company 'New' after several rounds of interviews rolled out an 'Appointment' Letter which I had to sign indicating my date of joining (indicated joining date is a few months after signing of this document)...

After signing and submitting this 'Appointment' Letter to company 'New', the company 'Old' rolled out a counter-offer to me which was beyond compare with that offered by company 'New' (I'm sure company 'New' cannot put-forth a better offer)...

Here are my questions based on the above scenario:

1. Can I decide not to join company 'New' ?

2. Will (or can) company 'New' initiate any legal (under Indian law) proceedings against me ?

Please help me with answers in the light of the following facts:

a. This document I signed was titled 'Appointment Letter' (and not Offer Letter)

b. There were no stand-alone 'Offer' letters rolled out by company 'New' (only the CTC calculations were exchanged over e-mail)

c. I had to sign and return the duplicate of this 'Appointment Letter' within 7 days from issue date of the same

d. I am still not releived from company 'Old' and am yet to report for induction at the company 'New'

e. A clasue in this 'Appointment Letter' mentions that I cannot take up any other employment without the consent of company 'New' (I do not see any other constraining clause)

I would be deeply indebted if some help is offered at the earliest...



A very interesting situation you have placed yourself in!

In brief:
  1. The "new" company made an "Appointment". You "accepted" the appointment. The contract is complete between you and the "new" company and it binds both of you.
  2. Have you actually resigned employment at "old" company? Has the "old" company made you an offer to counter the "appointment" of the"new" company? When did this offer come? Have you "accepted" the offer from the "old" company?
  3. Why do you say that the "appointment" from the "new" was unsolicited when you had attended a series of interviews with them? If you had no intention to join you need not have attended a single interview. However when the "new" issued an "appointment" you have even accepted the same within the stipulated time.
  4. Now are you tempted with the new offer from the"old" company?
Under the conditions I feel:
  1. Even if you wish to continue with "old" company (under a new offer from them) you will still have to formally terminate the contract of employment with the "new" company. An appointment duly accepted becomes a "contract" under law. The moment you signed the appointment, you became their employee.
  2. However although the date of joining may have been agreed to, hopefully you have NOT actually joined the "new" company and that means the "employer-employee relationship" has not commenced. It is possible to take a view that despite the facts on record none of mutual covenants can be enforced by either party UNLESS you actually jon employment at the "new" company. You may write a polite letter to the "new" company and withdraw from the relationship before it commences. They will not be happy with your conduct but I feel they will have to accept the reality of you not joining them
  3. Kindly consider the situation from morality angle also. You gave a gentleman's word of honour that you will join and now for some temptation you are willing to disrespect a gentleman's word! This is a question that concerns morality. You have to choose between your selfish interests and your credibility. You must not go by what people like me will say. Its your life and you must make your own choice!
June 2, 2011

Hi Mr. Samvedan

With reference to your response to this query, I have a question. May I ask ?

If candidate has not resigned from the Old company, and goes for the New company interviews, and New company knowing that he/she is currently employed with Old company and still rolls out an appointment letter, instead of offer letter, then, is that employment letter contract valid and binding on the candidate after signature.

Please let me know your views.


First fundamental is even if the "new" company has rolled an "appointment" letter (instead of an "offer letter") since there is no law against it, it is NOT an objectionable act on LEGAL grounds.

All candidates seek alternate opportunities while they are in some employment or th other anyway. Again legally not objectionable. But in the case on hand the gemntleman had ACCEPTED the "appointment" by formally signing within stipulated time. Therefore it became a contract!

Retention of employees is every employer's responsibility where everyone does not succeed and is hurt by attrition. In the instant case, prima-facie the contract with the new employer is binding though I am devising a way and taking a stand that while contract is valid, contractual obligations cannot be enforced unles the contracted relationship commences!!

In the instant case the "old" could have simply accepted the gentelman's resignation or could have terminated his employment in terms of the terms and conditions contracted with him or could have made a new offer to save a good employee and avoid attrition. The "old" employer has chosen the third option. Nothing wrong about it either!

Now the ball is in the court of our friend to decide who to accept and who to divorce! I feel legally he is safe to make any of these choices. My worry here is the questions of ethics, morality and credibility involved. Because any choice he makes these questions will continue to haunt him for rest of his life.

If I were him such a state would make me extremely uncomfortable for the rest of my life!

I trust your question is answered.

June 2, 2011

Hello Rajeev,
Further to what Samvedan mentioned, pl note that the 'Appointment Letter' has a larger sanctity than an Offer Letter--more to do with the seriousness of the Employer who issued it 'to definitely hire you'.

Also, it's YOUR choice about the 'morality' aspect Samvedan mentioned.

Now look @ the whole situation from a different angle. You mentioned that the 'Old' Company "rolled out a counter-offer to me which was beyond compare with that offered by company New"--YOUR words.

What prompted them to issue SUCH an enticing Offer? If they REALLY valued you, they should have given such an Offer earlier itself--that's what the whole Appraisal process is all about? But THEY DIDN'T--WHY? They were, in effect, taking advantage of you, NOT valuing you. Had you NOT RESIGNED or offered to resign [not sure if you ACTUALLY resigned], would they have given you the Counter-offer? I bet--NO. And even if they did give you SOME sort of an Offer, it WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE THAN the NEW Company's Offer--it would have been 'as per' their benchmark--obviously lower.
Where is the guarantee that they wouldn't take advantage of you again--in different circumstances/conditions?

Apart from the 'morality' angle that Samvedan mentioned & leaving aside the 'legalities', this is a reality check that YOU need to do FOR YOURSELF before deciding.

@ Samvedan, Hussain Zulfikar and TS... Thanks a million for your responses...

Regarding Samvedan's question of 'morality'.. Yes. I agree that my decision crosses the boundaries of ethical behaviour... hence I had already decided not just to write a polite letter, but also to meet the HR of the 'New' company in person and explain the situations that prompted me to act in such deviant manner...

But am still not convinced about the practice of rolling out an appointment letter before someone is relieved from the current employer and is taken on the rolls...

Talking about the counter-offer and associated temptation... As correctly pointed out by TS, this counter-offer by the 'Old' company is monetarily very meagre - not a single penny higher than my current CTC (the current CTC will only scale down since I'm moving to city that demands only a lower City Compensatory Allowance) - compared to the 'New' company's offer... But the counter-offer shines past the offer by the 'New' company by its sheer humanitarian and emotional quotient....

For someone who had been away from home and aging parents for long, this counter-offer looked substantially hearty and valuable than the CTC numbers on the emoluments sheet... The 'New' company is locationally challenged to make the same (or even a similar) offer and hence I said "the 'New' company cannot put-forth a better offer"...

Coming to TS's point of 'reality check'... Yes... you do have a very valid point in there... Had I not put in my papers, they would never have provided me a location transfer (I have asked for it earlier as well)... I have had handsome appraisal results consistently, which might be one reason why the 'Old' company has put forth this irresistible counter-offer... they were also smart enough to know that I would fall prey for a counter-offer of this nature without any additional financial implications for them...

Yes... they can (and might) take advantage of me in future... but at that point in time, I'll at least have my family beside me to share my grief...

Thanking all of you and CiteHR from the bottom of my heart once again...

Hope my scenario helps someone else tangled in similar situation too...



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