What is my recourse regarding a promise of payment that has now been revoked?

My employer is offering classes to become a certified Medicare agent. I was sent an email that said employees were now going to be paid $9 an hour for taking these classes. However, 4 days into our 10 day class, we were told that we were not going to be paid. Is this legal? Is the email sent a legally binding d ocument?

Asked on August 12, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you paid something for these classes, then you can enforce the email: in that case, since you had to provide "consideration" or something of value (the cost of the class), there was a mutual exchange of consideration (you paid for a class; they promised you more money) and that would create an enfroceable contract. (Of course, even if it is an enforceable contract, to enforce it, you'd have to sue your employer--always a drastic step.)
But if you don't have to pay for the classes, you are providing nothing of value yourself; if one party does not provide something of value, it is not a contract, but merely a "gratuitious"--or free--promise and so may be freely revoked at will. In this case, they do not owe you the money.

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