Is an offer letter binding without signatures?

I performed the work in AL, but they were a company based out of GA claiming to be governed under TN law. Their address is in GA. I have a circuit court suit for $3000. At the begining of employment I was offered, in writing, a $2,500 a year salary increase with “satisfactory” employment. There was no job description, sales quotas, or reviews during my 3 year employment. I was never written up or verbaly reprimanded. All offers were fulfilled from 3 years except this one. Does the employer have to notify of wage changes? I recorded my exit interview between the 2 owners and me. Are audio recordings admissible in AL court?

Asked on December 20, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The signature is not the main issue. The  letter you describe is probably not binding in any event:

1) If there is no term to it and no limitations in the letter on the ability to fire, transfer, demote, etc. you, then you would still be an employee at will; that means that the terms and conditions of your employment, you duties and job description, your compensation, and even whether you are an employee at all can be changed at will. Letter like you describe are mostly informational; they may help if fired immediately, especially if you did something against your own interest to take the job (like relocating or leaving a different job); but they do not bind for three years or more.

2) It doesn't matter that you were never reprimanded, unless there was employment agreement setting out how discipline would be done.

3) Employers should notify workers of wage changes. Until they do, pay should be at the previous wage level. Once notice is given, the rate can change.

4) You say all offers were fulfilled from 3 years except this one--if you feel you were discriminated against for an improper reason--e.g. race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability--you *might* have an employment discrimination suit and should discuss w/an employment lawyer.

5) Generally audio recordings of another person are not admissible if the person is available to testify. There are exceptions to get them in, but the rules of evidence can be complex and difficult to navigate. If the interview was via phone and you taped it, you may have violated wiretapping statutes and should be very careful.


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