Letter Signed by Employer Employee a Binding Contract?

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Letter Signed by Employer Employee a Binding Contract?

I asked my employer for a raise, I was told that they couldn’t give me the full
raise I was asking for at that time, but after our fiscal year end, they could. I had
them put that in writing we both signed and took copies. About 2 weeks later
my employer is telling me they can no longer honor that document and they are
reneging on giving me the raise for the foreseeable future. Is there any legal
recourse I can take?

Asked on February 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, merely signing a letter does not make it an enforceable contract. To be an enforceable conrtract, there must have an exchange of "consideration," or things of value, going to *both* parties. That is, you had to give your employer something in exchange for the raise. If you accepted a transfer to a different location, or began working much longer hours and/or took on new responsibilities, etc., in exchange for getting a raise in the future, those extra things you did may provide sufficient consideration to make the letter into a contract; in that case, you could potentially enforce it in court if necessary. But if you did not do anything new in order to get the raise, then there was no consideration and the letter is not enforceable.


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