circumstances referred to in Ford. That omission, as well as the reference to settlement, does, however, bear upon the reasonableness of plaintiff's failure to accept the employment offer. As the court noted in Blomstrom, following the rationale set forth in Ford v. EEOC, "Incentives to employers to hire claimants . . . should be structured so that employers will be encouraged to make good faith offers of employment and claimants will be reasonably informed of the terms of the offers before choosing to accept or reject them." slip op. at 4. Otherwise, a claimant might not realize that he or she need not relinquish, for all time, claims for backpay and other retroactive benefits in accepting an employment offer which does not include such benefits or which definitely excludes them.
Here, it is reasonable to conclude that a claimant unrepresented by counsel might assume that acceptance of the offer would amount to an agreement to settle the entire claim on the terms contained in the initial letter, particularly when his request for clarification of the terms went unanswered.
In fashioning an employment discrimination remedy, the Court acts as a Chancellor in Equity. Ford v. EEOC. In that capacity, we must retain the flexibility to consider all circumstances if and when we are put to the task of ordering relief for a plaintiff who has succeeded in proving discrimination in employment. For that reason, we decline to foreclose completely, in advance of trial, a remedy which may be appropriate under the circumstances when fully developed and exposed.
First, the Court would like the opportunity to determine whether defendant was represented by counsel with knowledge of the Ford decision when the offer was made and to satisfy ourselves that the letter was not artfully drafted specifically to toll backpay liability while suggesting to an unsophisticated plaintiff that an acceptance would indicate a willingness to settle the claim completely. See, Blomstrom, slip op. at 4, n. 1. A plaintiff not represented by counsel and whose claim has not advanced to litigation should have a further clarification of an employment offer if the defendant is represented by counsel. The claimant ought to be told, for instance, that he retains the right to seek retroactive benefits even if the offer is accepted. Likewise, he ought to be given some explanation of what he might forfeit if he chooses not to accept the offer.
Moreover, even if we were to conclude now, without a full exploration of the reasons for plaintiff's rejection of defendant's offer of employment, that the offer did toll its backpay obligation, we cannot determine from the present record when the tolling actually began. We do not know, for example, when the next LSM trainee position became available. It would unnecessarily and perhaps unfairly tie our hands to hold, at this stage of the proceedings, that backpay accrual ceased on the date the offer of employment was refused when the next position might not have been available for a year.
Finally, it is not sound judicial practice, particularly when our task is of an equitable nature, to decide ahead of time an issue which we may never reach at trial.
For these reasons, we will deny this portion of defendant's motion for summary judgment at this time. Again, we do so without prejudice to defendant's ability to raise the issue at trial.
AND Now, this 7th day of April, 1988, upon consideration of defendant's motion for partial summary judgment and plaintiff's response thereto, IT IS ORDERED that the motion is DENIED without prejudice to defendant's right to raise the issues again at trial.