Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs are employed at J.B.Sedberry, Inc, Defendant. At an employment conference, Plaintiffs expressly offered their resignations, giving a ninety-day notice. Mrs. Sedberry did not accept their resignations at the conference, but simply continued discussing business. Less than a week later, Mrs. Sedberry accepted Plaintiffs resignation. Plaintiff brought suit claiming the offer to resign was not timely accepted, therefore, Mrs. Sedberry had already rejected the offer.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
If the offeror can reasonably infer from the offeree’s words or conduct that the offeree does not intend to accept the offer or to continue contemplating whether to accept the offer, then the offer is deemed rejected.
Plaintiffs, Akers and Whitsitt, were employed with J.B. Sedberry, Inc., Defendant, pursuant to their employment contracts. The company was experiencing financial difficulties, therefore, Plaintiff attended a conference with Ms. Sedberry, and Plaintiff’s offered their resignations, giving a ninety-day notice, given that they would be paid according to their contract for that period. Mrs. Sedberry did not accept their resignations at the conference. Instead, Ms. Sedberry continued the conference for the rest of the day. Less than seven days later, Mrs. Sedberry sent Plaintiff a letter accepting their resignations. Plaintiffs initiated this action claiming that their offer to resign was not accepted within a reasonable time. The trial court held for Plaintiffs. Defendant appealed.
Whether an employment contract has been rejected when the employer does not accept or continue to contemplate the offer immediately.
No, an offer is solely deemed rejected if the offeror can reasonably infer from the offeree’s words or conduct that the offeree does not intend to accept the offer or to continue contemplating whether to accept the offer, then the offer is deemed rejected.
An offeree may reject an offer in many different ways. First, an offeree may immediately reject the offer. Second, if the offeree does not accept the offer within the specified time stated in the offer, the offer is rejected. Third, if the offer does not specify a time in which the offer will be available, the offeree may reject the offer within a reasonable time. Here, Defendant continued to consult in the conference, as if an offer had never been made. Defendant did not expressly or impliedly suggest that she wanted to continue contemplating the offer. Therefore, Plaintiffs were justified in reasonably inferring that Defendant rejected the offer to resign. Therefore, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling.