Are offer letters binding?

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Are offer letters binding?

Are offer letters binding when signed? When do they become binding? Is
there a three day grace period?

Asked on September 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, an offer letter is not binding unless and only if it limits the employer's ability or power to terminate the employee, such as--
1) Guarantying a job for a given period of time, barring wrongdoing (termination "for cause"), such as a one-year contract; and/or
2) Limits the reasons for termination (such as to only certain causes) or requires that a certain discipinary process (such as progressive discripline or a right to a hearing).
Otherwise, if there is no limitation on termination, the employee (or candidate/potential employee) is an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice. And being able to terminate the employee at any time for any reason allows the employer to alternately withdraw an offer, change the start date, and/or change the job (different job or title, different pay, etc.) at will.


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