Can an employer promote an employee to a position that was previously terminated?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer promote an employee to a position that was previously terminated?

I was laid off from a healthcare sales consultant position in September. My former
employer provided me with a signed, written agreement letter for my departure,
stating that they ‘will not hire anyone at that level again senior level’ in the
future. Recently I found that a former coworker who was working in a lesser
capacity than I was, has been promoted to that same position, with the same title,
after I was informed that the position would no longer exist, nor would anyone be
hired at a senior level position. Is this legal? Do I have a case for wrongful
termination? Any and all insight is greatly appreciated.

Asked on June 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An agreement, written or verbal, is not considered to be a legally binding contract unless a firm offer is made and accepted, and each party gives "consideration". In other words, an agreement is binding only if there is a meeting of the minds between 2 parties and each party offers something of value or otherwise makes a change in their position. Accordingly, from what you have written there was no valid contract formed with your employer so it was free to set the conditions of the workplace much as it saw fit. Accordingly, it could promote a worker to any position it deemed appropriate. If you had had a valid employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, then you would have a case. Also, it your treatment constituted some form of legally actionable discrimination you would have a legitimate claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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