Can my employer go back on their offer of a pay rate after I signed my acceptance letter?

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Can my employer go back on their offer of a pay rate after I signed my acceptance letter?

Asked on June 28, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an employer usually can go back on the pay rate offer, even after signing an acceptance letter, since all employment is employment at will--which means that you can be fired, or have anything short of or less than firing (like having your rate reduced) done at any time, for any reason. The exceptions are:

1) It was not just an acceptance letter, but an actual employment contract. If it was an employment contract, its terms are binding and enforceable.

2) In order to take the job, you had to do something significant to your detriment, like leave an existing job or relocate. The new employer knew you'd have to do that thing to your detriment, and nonetheless, knowing it, still promised you a certain pay rate, which rate was a material, or important, inducement for you to take the job, and which inducement you did in fact reasonably rely upon in taking the job. In that case, if all these criteria are met, then even without a contract, the promise they made you may be enforceable under the theory of "promissory estoppel."

If you think either 1) or 2) is the case, you should consult with an employment law attorney to investigate whether you do have a claim.


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