What can I do if an employment offer letter differs from what I was verbally told?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if an employment offer letter differs from what I was verbally told?

I recently began a job that took almost 2 weeks for them to give me an offer letter of employment. I initially asked for $25 per hour and the manager said she would speak to the owner and get an offer letter to me. Since my interview day, I’ve worked 58 hours thinking that I was getting the amount I initially asked for. I then received an offer letter today, stating that they will offer $11 per hour. It was not official since they printed the wrong name and addressed it to another co-worker of mine. Is this

against the law? For them to allow me to work so many hours without telling me they are offering way below what I asked?

Asked on September 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You may have a reasonable chance, were you to file a wage and hour complaint (with the state department of labor) or sue, to hold them to the $25/hour for the time you worked between discussing the wage and the offer letter; during that time, depending on exactly what was said (see below), it may have been reasonable for you to believe you were working for $25/hour, since they did nothing to refute that, and therefore they may be obligated to pay it. However, unless you have an actual written contract locking in your wage for a set or defined perior of time, it may be changed at will, so even if it had been $25/hour initially, they could--and did--make it $11/hour effective with the offer letter. So there is no doubt but they can now pay you only $11/hour. The only amount in question, which you might be able get would be the extra $14/hour for the first 58 hours.
Note though that it must have been reasonable for you to think that $25/hour was the wage; so if, even though the manger was checking on the wage you want, if you'd initially been told the wage would be something lower, then you asked for more money, it might be that ta court would consider it unreasonable on your part to think that your request obligated them to pay the higher wage given that you were told it was a lower-wage job; and if unreasonable, you could not rely on it. The way the conversation(s) went and were left prior to the offer letter, it must have been reasonable to think that the $25 wage would be granted.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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