Can I sue my employer for breach of an oral contract if they have failed to pay for a promised weekly bonus?

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Can I sue my employer for breach of an oral contract if they have failed to pay for a promised weekly bonus?

Asked on August 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A promise is not an oral contract. For a contract to exist, you must have given the employer "consideration," or something of value, in exchange for the promise to pay a bonus, like accepting a transfer to a different job or location, or demonstrably working extra hours when you are not otherwise compensated for it e.g. no hourly wage or overtime, etc. If you did provide consideration, this may be an enforceable oral contract and you may be able to enforce it or get compensation through a lawsuit. But if there is no consideration, this was a "gratuitous", or freely offered no obligation, promise, but the law does not, unfortunately, enforce gratuitous promises.


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