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  • Is a verbal recruitment agreement legally binding?

Jan 2007

Q. Are verbal agreements legally binding? I was recruited by my current employer through a management recruiting firm for a lateral position. The recruitment came with a verbal agreement that I would move into my supervisor's position in two to three years, after he moved back to the division headquarters. Now that he's moving back, the new plant manager has decided not to honor that agreement and the HR manager tells me no one is guaranteed a promotion.

A. I'm not a lawyer - and I don't play one on TV - but I never take verbal agreements seriously. If your supervisor planned to move you into a supervisory role at some point, he should have communicated his plans in writing. However, for you to win some legal recourse you would have to prove that your manager acted in bad faith in not keeping his promise.

All I can tell you is, always get promissory statements from your manager in writing. And act on those statements. For instance, take on more responsibility, work more closely with your manager so you understand what issues face your company. This way, if your company cannot move you into your new role, you'll be in a better position to understand why.

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

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