If I had a verbal agreement with a workplace superior that involved a handshake for a negotiated raise, what happens ifI don’t receive that raise?

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If I had a verbal agreement with a workplace superior that involved a handshake for a negotiated raise, what happens ifI don’t receive that raise?

Also, since many raises for other co-workers were delayed by months after agreeing to one, is it possible to sue for a large quantity to make the company change their bad wage habits?

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An oral (often called verbal) agreement is enforceasble; the key issue here is whether this was an actual agreement or contract, which could be enforced, or was simply a promise, which cannot be.

For there to be an enforceable contract, there must be an offer by one party; acceptance by another--and an oral "handshake" agreement can meet these requirements--but there must also be consideration, or something of value given to bind the agreement. If you took on extra work; went out to get some new training, education, or credential; or passed on other work or business opportunity in exchange for a raise, for example, that would constitute consideration and would likely let you enforce the agreement. But if you did not have to do, pay, or give up anything in exchange for the raise, there would be no consideration and no enforceable contract.

Also note:

1) Even if there is an enforceable agreement, if the company choose to not honor it, you'd have to sue to enforce it.

2) Proving the existence and terms of an oral agreement, if the other party does not remember it the way you do, can be difficult.


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