Is a verbal contract binding?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a verbal contract binding?

My boss changed me from wages to a bid-for-work system so that he wouldn’t have a payroll because there wasn’t enough work. Based on his guidance, I registered and got my own corporation. It was a risk on my behalf since work was not guaranteed. After agreeing to this, business started picking up and since I was being paid by square footage, I stood to make more than I would have on wages. Upon realizing how much I was going to make he decided to revert back to wages. I didn’t accept the new terms. He told me not to come in for the week and after, he let me go. Can I sue my boss for breach of contract?

Asked on September 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Verbal contracts (more properly called "oral contracts"--verbal just means "in words," which includes written contracts, while "oral" means spoken) are enforceble; of course, it can be more difficult to prove both their existence and their terms, since it often comes down to one person's work against another. Still, if you assume you can prove the contract, it is enforceable as per its terms...though that means that if work was not guaranteed to you, there may be nothing to enforce.

Another tact to consider is what's called "promissory estoppel": if, in reasonable reliance on another party's promises or representations, you take actions to your detriment (like renting space, buying equipment, paying money to incorporate) and the other party knew or should have known you would do this, that "detrimental reliance" may make the promise binding.

Since so much depens on the exact facts, precisely what was said, etc., you should consult with an attorney who can evaluate the situation and your rights with you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption