An offer is rejected when the offeror infers from words or conduct of the offeree that the offeree does not intend to accept or take the offer under further advisement.
Akers and Whitsitt (Plaintiffs) worked for defendant corporation under separate employment contracts. In a meeting with Mrs. Sedberry (individual Defendant and owner of defendant corporation), plaintiffs offered their resignations. Individual defendant did not accept the offer but proceeded with the meeting. Four days later, individual defendant notified plaintiffs that she accepted their offers of resignation. Individual defendant argued she had not refused the offers at the meeting and that they had not expired before her acceptance. Trial court found for plaintiffs and an appeal followed.
Were offers for resignation—ignored during a meeting and unanswered for four days—still valid at defendant’s time of acceptance?
“The only offer by Akers and Whitsitt to resign was the offer made by them in their conversation with Mrs. Sedberry. They made that offer at the outset, and on the evidence it seems clear that they expected an answer at once. Certainly, there is nothing in the evidence to show that they intended the offer to continue beyond that conversation; and on the above authorities, we think the offer did not continue beyond that meeting.Indeed, it did not last that long, in our opinion, but was terminated by Mrs. Sedberry's rejection of it very early in that meeting. While she did not expressly reject it, and while she may have intended, as she says, to take the offer under consideration, she did not disclose such an intent to complainants; but, by her conduct, led them to believe she rejected the offer, brushed it aside, and proceeded with the discussion as if it had not been made.”