If an employer gives you a letter offering a raise then later says the letter was a mistake and the raise is not going to happen, does the employee have any recourse?

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If an employer gives you a letter offering a raise then later says the letter was a mistake and the raise is not going to happen, does the employee have any recourse?

Asked on June 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The employee would only have recourse if he or she did something in exchange for the raise--e.g. took on new responsibilities, accepted a transfer, took on additional business travel, etc. If the employee had to do something to get the raise, then that "something" may constitute "consideration" and there may be an enforceable agreement or contract as to the raise. But if the employee did not have to go anything for the raise--i.e. it freely offered--then it was just a "gratuitious" (or free) promise, and the law does not enforce gratuitous promises. In this case, the employee would have no recourse.


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