If my boss promised me a raise and we shook hands on it, was that legally binding?

UPDATED: Jul 29, 2017

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If my boss promised me a raise and we shook hands on it, was that legally binding?


Asked on July 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that a handshake is not deemed to form a legally binding contract unless a firm offer was made and accepted, and each party gave the other something of value. In other words, a verbal agreement can be binding so long as there is an agreement between 2 parties and each party offers some "consideration" (that is, each party must make a change in their position that they are not otherwise legally obligated to do). Therefore, no valid contract was formed so your employer was free withdraw its offer of a raise. Your only claim here might be if your treatment was the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination, however you did not indicate that to be the case.

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