My offer letter was changed without notice claiming a ‘clerical error.’

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My offer letter was changed without notice claiming a ‘clerical error.’

I was given, and signed, an offer letter for a position. Once I started I noticed that my title was lower than that which I agreed to on the electronically signed offer letter. I asked HR and they first sent me the same one I had initially accepted, dated the 5th of July and electronically signed on the 6th of July. Ten minutes later they sent me the same letter, with my

same electronic signature, with a new date and title. They stated that because I agreed to something verbally with my recruiter that validated the change. This conversation with the recruiter occurred prior to my signing the document,

so I assumed there had been a semantic error in the conversation and that the written, signed letter would be the actionable one. Based on this, and feeling quite wronged, I resigned. A friend of mine mentioned that I should have

threatened legal action to try to get some sort of severance package to cover the time it will take me to find a new job. Is it too late since I resigned?

Asked on August 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) If you resigned, then yes, it is too late to negotiate for severance.
2) Even if had not been too late, you had no legal grounds anyway, unless it was not just an offer letter you received, but an actual written contract guarantying you a certain title for a set or defined period of time (e.g. a one-year, two-year, five-year, etc. contract). Only a contract for a set period of time stops an employer from changing any aspect of your job from what was previously agreed to at any time, for any reason. An offer letter, unless it was such a contract, does not tie the employer's hands; they may change the terms of your position if they choose.


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