Is a verbal promise legally binding?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a verbal promise legally binding?

I work for a company through a staffing agency. I earned a raise 5 months ago but did not begin to see the raise on my paycheck until well into last months. During the between months I, and a co-worker who was experiencing the same issue, spoke with the on-site manager with the staffing agency and our supervisor with the company on multiple occasions. On one occasion, the on-site manager with the staffing agency said,

Asked on January 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, an oral ("oral," not "verbal," is the correct term) promise of a raise is not enforceable. First, a promise is generally not enforceable unless it is in a contract, which means unless you are giving the other side something in exchange for the promise--a promise made to you where you are not providing or giving anything for it is not enforceable in any context. And in employment, because of the doctrine of "employment at will," only a written contract for a set period of time (e.g. with a definited starting date) will bind the employer; without a set date or period of time, the employer retains their power to set, change, modify, etc. the terms of employment, including pay, at will.

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