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“Failure to Hire” Action Rejected
April 16, 2007

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has dismissed a claim by a plaintiff who alleged he and the University of British Columbia entered into a binding employment contract when he responded to an advertisement for an assistant professor.

The plaintiff, who was not successful in his application, alleged that a contract was formed when he responded to the advertisement. The court disagreed, holding that the mere act of advertising a job vacancy and the submission of a resume does not indicate an intention to form a legally binding relationship. Rather, the advertisement for a job is merely an invitation to negotiate.

The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that UBC had committed a tort by not fulfilling its “duty of fairness” to him. It held that there is no free-standing duty of fairness on a potential employer when advertising an opening. The court concluded that to extend liability in tort to the pre-employment hiring process would lead to the courts “scrutinizing the minutiae of pre-contractual conduct” and that the courts should not intrude into the process of determining who is the most appropriate person for a particular job.

(Click here for copy of Decision)