Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Utah

Q: Can a signed form within a company be changed after it had been signed and dated?

2/14/18 is when I signed to the pay increase of 12.48 per hour and sometime between 2/22-2/23 one of the other people on the document changed the pay increase to 12.21 per hour so I would be getting less money. They also did not inform me of this change nor did they ask me to sign a new form saying I agree to this change. I just want to know if they can legally change a signed form like that?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Wesley Winsor

Answered
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: This is a good question, in addition to the issue of whether or not someone can enforce a contract that has been altered from the original provisions agreed to, there might be an issue of whether this was a contract at all.

In all contracts, there has to be "consideration" or something of value being exchanged. I am not sure what the circumstances were wherein you signed the document, but let's explore the issues.

Let's say that you agreed to work for and the company agreed to pay a rate of $12.48/hr. There was an offer presented in the document (assuming that the company's signature was on there prior to your signing), you accepted that offer when you signed and now you had a contract to work for them at that rate. This is an enforceable contract. The fact that someone changed the offer after you signed the agreement has no legal significance on the offer that you signed. If you continue to work for them, then you can insist on the higher rate and they are obligated to pay the higher rate.

Now, Utah is an at will state which means that you can be fired for just about any reason except for reasons of age, gender, race, or marital status etc. This means that they can fire you pretty much at any time they want. So, if you insisted on the higher rate, they could just fire you and that would end their obligation to pay you. Then they could present another offer of $12.21/hr and you could accept it or not. So in this way, their offer of the higher wage is more like an illusory promise meaning that they gave you the promise but they had no legal obligation to do so and therefore have the choice to honor it or not.

In the other scenario, if you signed the document and they hadn't signed yet, then your signature would have been considered an offer to work at the higher rate, and their signature accepting your offer to work at a lower rate would equate to a counter-offer for you to work at the $12.21/hr. Thus you could either accept, reject, or propose another counteroffer.

I hope this helps.

Wes

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