Are employers required to honor the terms of an offer letter?

The offer letter I received and signed upon being hired by my employer says that you are eligible for a bonus of up to $500 per quarter based on reaching pre-established performance goals for your site as provided by your manager. These goals will be provided to you in advance of each quarter. If earned, the

incentive amount will be paid out in the pay period following the closing date of

the quarter, for the previous quarter. I have asked numerous times over a three

year period for my performance goals and my employer refuses to give them to me citing that

Asked on July 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your boss is correct. An written offer of employment does not constitue a legal contrat unless it guaranteed your employment in some way (i.e. your compensation, etc.) for a specified period of time. Further, without a written employment contract, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit, notwithstanding a union agreement to the contrary. Also, your treatment must not constitue some form of legally actionable discrimination (which it does not appear to).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

They (the employer) are right: an offer letter is not a binding contract UNLESS it guaranteed your job (and the terms of it--e.g. your compensation) for a set or defined period of time (like a one-year employment contract), in which case the letter's terms could be enforced (are binding) for the defined time period. Otherwise, when the terms of your job are not locked in for a set period, you remain an employee at will and your employer may change those terms--that is, renege on any promises it made--at will.

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