What are an employers obligationsfor a verbal contractregarding promotion?

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What are an employers obligationsfor a verbal contractregarding promotion?

I was offered a position that requires a degree I am working towards but do not have yet. My employer knew this when the offer was made and accepted. This issue was discussed and they said it would not be a problem they were offering the position to me anyway. Now that it is time to sign the paperwork they are backing out on the grounds that I am unqualified for this position without my degree. Do they have to honor their verbal contract or can they change their minds even though I already accepted their offer?

Asked on July 25, 2011 New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

To put this another way, is an oral agreement of employment enforceable in New York?  The answer is "maybe."  Oral agreements or contracts can fall in to a web know as the Statute of Frauds, which is a law that states that certain agreements must be in writing in order to be valid.  In this case, if the oral agreement of employment is for more than one year, it is within the Statute of Frauds and so it is not enforceable. But if the verbal agreement of employment is for a definite duration of one year or less, it is enforceable.  And if the oral agreement of employment is not for a fixed duration, it is valid, but the individual’s employment presumptively is at will; that is, once the individual begins work, either the company or the individual may terminate the employment at any time.  You may want to consult with an attorney in your area.  Good luck.


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