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  • What if my new employer reneges on a verbal salary offer?

Jan 2007

Q. I recently changed jobs, and my new employer refused to honor their verbal salary offer. Asking for a written agreement would have been out of the ordinary for the position I accepted, so I didn't even consider it. Would depositing my paychecks harm any legal actions I may take? Besides looking for another job, what should I do?

A. It's never a good idea to accept a verbal offer. Some employers make verbal offers, but its always a good idea to tell an employer you will formally accept the offer only after they send you the offer in writing. If an employer for some reason doesn't make a written offer, then write one up yourself spelling out what was verbally agreed to.

At this point, it's their word against yours. If you have actually worked at the company, then depositing a paycheck does not reduce or minimize any legal claim you have against the company. The company still has to pay you for working at the company; your services are not for free.

Having your company renege on a salary offer does not make for a good working relationship. I think looking for another job isn't such a bad idea. At least this time you'll know what to demand from your employer. I would also suggest you take a look at's Salary Advice section and Negotiation Clinic before you accept your next offer.

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

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