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2020

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06

Media Interview | What responsibilities should the company bear if the offer cannot be fulfilled as promised?

Guo Ya, who graduated in the summer of 2020, has received seven or eight offers since March. Among them, the offer from a management trainee at an education and training company in Shanghai impressed her the most. According to the agreement, she should start on-the-job training in May.


Guo Ya, who graduated in the summer of 2020, has received seven or eight offers since March. Among them, the offer from a management trainee at an education and training company in Shanghai impressed her the most. According to the agreement, she should start on-the-job training in May.

On May 7th, the day before preparing to depart for Shanghai, Guo Ya received a phone call from the company's human resources stating that the offer could not be fulfilled as scheduled.

Several other offers have also expired and become invalid at this time. Guo Ya instantly became a "leftover" and "zero offer" in the job market. The reason given by the other party is even more difficult for her to accept - "You are not outstanding enough, and your education is also average

This summer is known as the "toughest graduation season in history". Many enterprise positions have reduced recruitment, making it more difficult for fresh graduates to obtain offers. What worries them even more is that the offers they receive may be "pigeoned" at any time.

If you don't agree, terminate the contract if you lower your monthly salary from 8000 to 2000+

Being broken after receiving an offer means that a fresh student's entire job search season effort has been wasted.

Guo Ya is a recent graduate of an ordinary university in Shaanxi. In March of this year, after two rounds of interviews, she signed the "National Employment Agreement for Graduates of Ordinary Higher Education Institutions" (hereinafter referred to as the Tripartite Agreement) with Shanghai New Gaodun Education and Training Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Shanghai New Gaodun). The email sent by HR shows that Guo Ya will be employed as a management trainee, with a salary of 7000 yuan during the internship period and 8000 yuan after becoming a full-time employee.

For the onboarding training on May 11th, Guo Ya booked a flight to Shanghai early and also bought several decent clothes for her upcoming career. On the morning of May 7th, while tidying up her luggage, Guo Ya received a call from Shanghai New Gaodun Human Resources. The other party stated that due to the impact of the epidemic, the company's organizational structure had been adjusted, and she hoped to be transferred to the marketing department in Xi'an with a base salary of 2000+, "either accepting the transfer or accepting the termination of the contract.

From Shanghai to Xi'an, from management trainees to marketing promotion, and from a salary of 8000 yuan to over 2000 yuan, Guo Ya found it difficult to accept. The other party explained, "You are not outstanding enough and your education is not high

This reason makes me feel very angry. "After receiving the phone call for a week, Guo Ya had difficulty sleeping and eating. Helplessly, she tried to accept a salary adjustment and went to Xi'an for an interview before May 9th. On May 17th, she was informed by the human resources that she did not pass the interview and would need to further transfer if she wanted to stay.

Guo Ya accepted the understanding of the agreement, "but there was no compensation for the termination. The reason is that there was no penalty specified in the tripartite agreement, and the termination reason given in the termination letter is an agreement reached through consultation between both parties

Gao Yu, a senior student in Wuhan, was directly reneged on by the company. In October last year, at the Mafangshan Campus of Wuhan University of Technology, after passing an interview for a software development position in a construction company, he and several classmates received a written offer and handed over the tripartite agreement to the company. He was originally scheduled to report on February 17th this year. Due to the impact of the epidemic, companies have stated that they will report uniformly after graduation.

In May of this year, the human resources department called and suddenly stated that they needed to find new jobs, citing "changes in the project team due to the impact of the epidemic." A few days later, the company sent back the tripartite agreement, but Gao Yu found that it was not stamped with the company seal.

From last year until now, it has been mostly a waste of half a year. Due to the notification only in May, the spring recruitment has basically ended, and the job opportunities are very slim. Without signing a tripartite agreement, Gao Yu realized that it was difficult to obtain compensation, and reluctantly started the job search journey again.

Submit dozens of resumes a day, about 6 interviews

When I first received the notice, it could be said that it was a bolt from the blue and I lost sleep all night. At dawn, I decided to start looking for a job again. I found that there were too few options at this time, so I had to try my best and lower the standards. "Wang Jia, a senior student from a university in Hebei, received a notice from Gaodun Education Group in May requesting a job transfer and salary adjustment. According to the enterprise investigation, Gaodun Education Group includes Shanghai New Gaodun Education and Training Co., Ltd. mentioned earlier.

Engaging in the internet or education industry is Wang Jia's job ideal. The position of a management trainee at Gaodun Education Group meets her expectations in terms of job content, salary, and region. After receiving the offer in February, she gave up three other company offers and stopped participating in school recruitment.

On May 18th, the Human Resources Department of Gaodun Education Group notified me by phone of a job transfer, salary adjustment, or termination of the contract, saying, "My mentality has collapsed because at this time, almost all school admissions have ended, and it is difficult to find a job with the same development prospects and benefits as during the spring recruitment”

The next day, Wang Jia started a crazy job search again, submitting dozens of resumes a day. At most, he had four video interviews and two phone interviews scheduled in one day, "from morning to night, he felt physically and mentally exhausted from the face.

The available positions were limited, and the standards were lowered again and again. Finally, in early June, Wang Jia signed a new offer. This is a position in a fast-moving consumer goods company, which is far from what she originally envisioned as her job responsibilities. "It can be said that this breach of contract has changed my future career plan

Enterprises should pay compensation for breach of contract behavior, as the students involved often wait for three months or at least one month, and the time and opportunity costs involved are immeasurable, "Wang Jia believes.

On the afternoon of June 15th, the reporter called Gaodun Education Group Human Resources to discuss how to resolve the issue of breach of contract and compensation for fresh students' offers. The other party stated that they would arrange a dedicated person to reply later. As of press release, the reporter has not received a response yet.

A senior girl from a Wuhan university told reporters that on June 3rd, six months after receiving an offer from a Fortune 500 foreign company, she received a notice of termination.

I feel very collapsed and cry every night. During the autumn recruitment, I worked very hard to find a job, but in the end, I felt a sense of failure and abandonment. Every day I woke up and went to the recruitment software to submit my resume crazily. "In an interview with reporters, she said that her previous company would compensate the agreed penalty of 3000 yuan for breach of contract. She also hastily received a new offer, but the difference in work direction and company size is not small compared to before.

What responsibilities should enterprises bear for breaking contracts?

On job search forums and social media, reporters have found that there are constantly reports from fresh graduates that they have been unilaterally reneged upon by the company after receiving an offer, or have requested job and salary adjustments, otherwise they will be terminated.

Mr. Jia, who has been engaged in recruitment for 10 years, told reporters, "Due to the pandemic, the survival environment of the enterprise has changed. From the perspective of human resources, we have to adopt a strategy of personnel compression. Compared to the dismissal and layoff of existing employees, the cost of breaking contracts for fresh graduates is clearly lower

In response to this situation, he suggested that fresh graduates should try to sign a written offer with the company and agree on corresponding terms, clarifying obligations and responsibilities, as well as compensation for breach of contract, in order to bind the behavior of both parties through a contract.

How do fresh graduates protect their rights after being broken?

Chen Liang, Senior Partner of Guangdong Legal Shengbang Law Firm, pointed out that according to the Contract Law, the legal nature of an offer issued by a company to a student is an employment offer made to the student, which takes effect when it reaches the offeree. According to regulations, when the offeree receives an offer and expresses its intention to accept it, it constitutes an acceptance. The contractual relationship between the two parties is established.

If a student promptly makes a commitment to the enterprise through phone, email, WeChat, or other means after receiving the offer from the enterprise, the enterprise shall not revoke the offer. Otherwise, the enterprise should bear the responsibility for the students' contractual negligence and compensate for all economic losses caused to the students due to their offering. Chen Liang stated that students can file a lawsuit with the court where the enterprise is located after collecting relevant evidence (including written documents, electronic information, WeChat screenshots, relevant bills, etc.).

For some cases where there is no clear amount of compensation for breach of contract in the tripartite agreement, Chen Liang believes that the reason is that the tripartite agreement, as an intentional agreement, sets too strict and cumbersome liability for breach of contract. In the long run, schools do not tend to impose too many restrictions to encourage employers to issue more recruitment intentions. However, whether the tripartite agreement specifies liquidated damages does not affect students' reasonable claims. Chen Liang pointed out that according to the Contract Law, if the breaching party causes economic losses to the non breaching party, these losses should be borne by the breaching party.

In the interview, several recent graduates also stated that they did not sign a tripartite agreement with the company, but instead received offers through email, WeChat, phone, and even verbal means.

Does the form of the offer affect the establishment of the contractual relationship?

Su Wenwei, a labor law lawyer at Beijing Deheng Law Firm, pointed out that offers can be made in paper, email, WeChat, or by phone or verbal means. Regardless of the form, it is an "offer" sent by the employer to the prospective graduate in the hope of establishing a labor relationship with them. Except for being withdrawn, revoked, or invalidated in accordance with the law, once the graduate agrees, the offer is binding on both parties.

However, the interviewed experts stated that the offer should be signed in writing as much as possible. "If there is no other evidence, and the company denies that the offer was made verbally, it is difficult to obtain support for the student's request for compensation due to the lack of evidence support," Su Wenwei pointed out.

In addition, how should responsibilities be divided in response to the frequent feedback from graduates regarding "either job or salary adjustments, or termination of contracts"?

Chen Liang pointed out that if a company arbitrarily changes the content of an offer and graduates are unable to accept the relevant adjustments, it is the fault of the company, and graduates can claim compensation liability from the company based on the fault of the contracting party.

In order to effectively safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of graduates and maintain an orderly employment environment for college students, Chen Liang suggests that "for enterprises with serious complaints from the graduate group, regulatory departments such as the human resources and social security departments and education management departments can disclose this as negative credit information of the enterprise to the society

(In the text, Guo Ya, Gao Yu, and Wang Jia are pseudonyms)

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