Bronx, NY asked in Employment Law for New York

Q: My job offer letter states that it can not be amended or modified except by written agreement signed by the employer an

My job offer letter states that it can’t be modified or amended except for written agreement signed by the employer and myself.

Can the employer modify the agreement after my start date and compel me to comply if I don’t agree and sign.

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1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: An offer letter is different from an employment contract. Most offers are "at will." The employee can leave or employer can ask the employee to leave. No reason is needed for either employee to quit or employer to end the "at will" relationship.

Signing an offer letter is similar to signing a receipt of an employee handbook. Most offers, like handbooks, can be amended or changed at any time. For example, health insurance benefits. An offer letter and an employee handbook might reference health insurance as a benefit. On day 1 of the job the employer decides to eliminate health insurance as a benefit. As long as all employees are denied these benefits going forward there's nothing illegal about an employer changing its policies or offers to everyone. A union contract or a private employment agreement might prevent such a change.

Very few employees are covered by union agreements. Even fewer employees have private employment contracts. Those who do usually include beginning and end dates for services. Or they might include an evergreen provision. That would renew the contract every year or some other term period automatically. Most of these State that employees shall not be terminated except for cause or good cause. And in many cases the cause or good cause is spelled out.

If you are covered by a contract or employment agreement ask an employment lawyer to review it. If you are working under an "at will" offer letter make sure that any changes are being applied to everyone. If everyone begins employment at the pay rate promised during an interview except the minority or employee with a disability the minority or employee with disability might have a discrimination claim.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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