Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Manager - Hr

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Hi Seniors,

A month ago, I accepted an offer of a Local African company and based upon acceptance, they sent me flight ticket. Unfortunately, due to some sudden unforeseen unavoidable incident in family, I couldn’t board the flight which was schedule very next day. Also, I had to cancel my overseas joining which was well informed to the HR of that company.

Now the Hr person is asking for the reimbursement of Air fare (USD 900) and in case of failure to pay he is threatening me to be prepared for legal action against me in the court of law of India. He is also threatening to advertise on internet and consultancies and his HR colleagues in India & abroad that my kind of person misuses offer letter and then backtracks on commitment and promises.

I have made enquiry with relevant airline and they assured me that a refund has been processed from their end post deduction of their NO SHOW charges of USD 55 and Airline charges of USD 35. Regarding travel agent service fees, they cannot tell me charges. I’m presuming, it will of USD 50. (Net liability according to me is USD 140 against their claim of USD 900)

Please guide me on following queries;

1. Have I really made a crime by not joining them after acceptance of their offer letter?,
2. Can they take any legal action on this ground against me in India;
3. What will be my liability towards airticket


Dear Rajni,

Replies to your questions are as below:

1. Have I really made a crime by not joining them after acceptance of their offer letter?,

Comments: - You have not made "crime" per se but have demonstrated unprofessional behaviour. Before applying for overseas assignment, you should have been thoughtful of your family obligations. Tussle between career and family obligations go on forever. Professionalism lies in choosing the proper side and holding on to it. You cannot cross the demarcating line that divides these two and then backtrack. Secondly, if you have missed the flight then why you cannot arrange the next flight on your own. Why are you holding on to India? Is it that you do not wish to join?

2. Can they take any legal action on this ground against me in India;

Comments: - Legal action will depend on the terms and conditions mentioned in the offer letter. If the terms and conditions fulfil provisions of Indian Contract Act, 1872 then it could be breach of contract and you could be liable for legal action.

3. What will be my liability towards airticket.

Comments: - They have asked for US$ 900. Ask them to what extent they are ready to negotiate. Check whether the price can be lowered.

Final Comments: - It is easy to withdraw from the accepted offer. But then think of the company. If you were to be MD of some company and if candidate had backtracked like you, how you would have felt it? Please spare few moments to ponder on this question. Since you have not spent anything on Visa and flight ticket, it is easy for you to withdraw.


Dinesh Divekar

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