If avice president offered me a promotion within the company while she was intoxicated but now she has no recollection of it, what should I do?

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If avice president offered me a promotion within the company while she was intoxicated but now she has no recollection of it, what should I do?

Asked on November 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you probably can't do anything. A unilateral promises, whether made drunk or sober, is not enforceable as a general rule. It would only be enforceable if--

1) It  is actually a contract, but to be a contract requires not just offer (e.g. an offer that you'll get a promotion) and acceptance (e.g. you saying "yes"), but also consideration--e.g. you gave something of value to bind the contract, such as by taking on additional duties or work, or undergoing additional training, in exchange for getting the promotion. If you didn't give any considertion, it's just an unenforceable promise, not a contract.

2) Similarly, sometimes a promise can be made enforceable even if you did not give something of value to the other party, so long as you, acting in reasonable reliance on the promise, took some actions to your detriment, which the other party knew or should have known you would do. A common example is giving up another job opportunity because you were promised a promotion. But here, unless you 1) gave up something of value in reliance on this promise; 2) the reliance was reasonable; and 3) the VP knew or should have known you'd do this, the promise is not enforceable.

And even if you could show you gave up something, it would be difficult to prove that reliance on a drunken promise was reasonable.

So, it is therefore highly unlikely that you can enforce this promise.


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